With Michael away doing Songwriting Stuff in Nashville, I've had to step into the kitchen to make dinners. This pasta dish is from Marcella Hazan, and it is the best damn pasta dish I've ever eaten. Best part -- with Michael away, I don't have to be embarrassed about licking the saute pan.
PASTA WITH HAM AND PEA CREAM SAUCE
1 lb pasta (penne or other tubular shape is nice)
4 Tbs butter
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 cup frozen peas, thawed (you can use fresh if you have them; saute them in half the butter before adding the onions and additional butter)
1/4 (or more) pound cooked ham, cut into thin strips
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese (the good stuff)
Put up a pot of water for the pasta. While the pasta is cooking, heat up a large saute pan. Melt the butter and saute the onion. When it's golden, add the ham strips and the peas. Cook a few minutes until they're all happy together. At this point, if you realize that 1/2 cup onion isn't really enough, quickly chop another 1/2 cup, push the ham mixture to the side, and saute the rest of the onion.
Add the cream to the saute pan, increase heat, and cook until reduced. Taste and add salt/pepper as desired. About now you'll be draining the pasta. Once the cream is reduced and the pasta drained, dump it all in a big bowl (you need room for tossing), add the cheese, and toss with joy. Realize that more cheese is better, so grate some more and toss it in before everything cools. And Marcella says that if another Tbs of butter doesn't alarm you, now is the time to add it.
Serves 4-6. Make sure your spouse/partner and/or kids are out of the room before you lick the pan. Also make sure the pan is cool. Duh.