“This is a celebration of delicious, sweet peas and is proper comfort food. It’s super-simple and quick to put together, and the beautiful sweetness of the peas is contrasted brilliantly by the salty depth of flavour from the guanciale. Pecorino is the Roman cheese of choice, made with sheep’s milk, and worth hunting out. ”
- 350 g fresh peas , in their pods
- 80 g piece of higher-welfare guanciale (cured pig’s cheek) , or smoked pancetta
- 150 g dried tortiglioni , or rigatoni
- 2 shallots
- ½ a lemon
- ½ a bunch of fresh mint , (15g)
- 30 g pecorino cheese , plus extra to serve
- extra virgin olive oil
- pea shoots , to serve (optional)
Pod the peas and place just the pods in a pan of boiling salted water for 5 minutes to impart their flavour. Finely dice the guanciale, place in a large cold non-stick frying pan and put on a medium heat to render the fat, tossing regularly. Meanwhile, scoop out and discard the pea pods, then cook the pasta in the boiling salted water according to the packet instructions. Peel and rustically chop the shallots, then add to the guanciale pan for 5 minutes, or until lightly golden. Add the peas and a good splash of water, then finely grate in the lemon zest. Cover and cook gently for 5 minutes, tossing occasionally, while you rip the top leafy half off the mint and finely chop it, and finely grate the pecorino.
Drain the pasta, reserving a mugful of starchy cooking water. Pour the pasta into the frying pan, then remove from the heat and toss well so the pasta absorbs maximum flavour. Stir in the mint and pecorino, jiggling the pan to create creaminess. Loosen with a little cooking water, if needed, season to perfection, then serve with an extra grating of pecorino, a kiss of extra virgin olive oil, a squeeze of lemon, and a few pea shoots, if you like.
Source: Jamie Oliver