This has been a traditional recipe in our family for years, and it’s so simple to prepare. When I was small, though, I thought this recipe was complicated; when my grandmother prepared it, it seemed like it took forever. Of course, getting those little guys out of their pods took up a lot of time—and guess who was on “peas in the pod” detail? We had a large family, so I had to shell a lot of peas.
After I’d put what looked like a thousand peas in the colander, Nona would just dump them in a pot, smother them with onions, prosciutto, and tomatoes, and turn on the gas. The onions and tomatoes made the peas taste even sweeter, and the prosciutto added the perfect touch of salt. My daughters, Alexandra and Arianna, put their own spin on this recipe. Alex makes a delicious creamy pea soup and Ari a fabulous sauce for pasta—so inventive!
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 large yellow onion, sliced thin
1 (16-ounce) bag frozen baby peas
3 slices imported prosciutto, chopped
1 ½ cups chopped tomatoes, fresh or canned
½ teaspoon kosher salt
½ cup water
Place all the ingredients into a sauce pot over medium heat, cover, and bring to a gentle boil. After 10 minutes, gently mix with a wooden spoon. Cover and continue to gently boil for an additional 30 minutes, checking every 10 minutes to make sure all the water has not evaporated. Add ¹?³ cup of water if that is the case. Pour into a serving bowl and serve immediately.
Adjust the seasoning, adding more salt if necessary.
COOK’S NOTE: If you’re using fresh peas, shell them, and cook in boiling water for a few minutes until tender. Drain, then follow the recipe as given.