A frequent reference made by many food bloggers these days is to the Food Network’s show “Chopped.” As are its television contestants, real-time home cooks are often faced today with a hodgepodge of ingredients from their fridge and pantry and challenged to get a meal on the table.
Such was the case this evening, when I found a few ounces of chopped pancetta that was a little beyond its “best-used-by” date, a third of an onion, an almost empty bag of frozen peas, and the remainder of a package of ditalini pasta.
Sautéed in a little olive oil, the pancetta, peas, and onion would have provided enough for a small portions of Roman-style peas, but not enough for a meal. The few ounces of pasta, however, would provide enough bulk to extend the vegetables, and a couple of tablespoons of Parmigiano-Reggiano, our supply slowly diminishing, would enrich the dish upon serving.
The result was like a mini pasta Primavera. Savory, sweet, and green, made nutty and silky by the cheese and a bit of nutmeg added to the peas as they cooked with the onions, pancetta, and olive oil.
Keep cooking my friends and celebrate whatever ingredients you find in your kitchen.