"I love frozen peas and will challenge anyone who says a bad word about them. Their very existence makes me happy and, yes, while they are not spring garden peas, their plump bright green little bodies always make it seem warmer than it really is. If it really is springtime, then feel free to use fresh peas after giving them a quick blanch in salted boiling water. Broad beans make a great substitute, but I’d insist on using fresh ones if you do. Garganelle or rigatoni is my favourite pasta to use in this dish, as the peas and crisp cubes of mortadella fall into the hollows."
2 tablespoons salted butter
120 g thickly sliced mortadella or smoked ham, cut into pea-sized cubes
150 g frozen peas
100 ml pouring cream
½ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
handful of grated Parmigiano Reggiano, plus extra to serve
Bring a large saucepan of water to a lively boil and season as salty as the sea. Add the pasta and cook until al dente.
Meanwhile, melt the butter in a large frying pan over medium heat until it foams. Add the mortadella (or ham) and fry for5 minutes or until just starting to colour. Add the peas and cook for a further minute or until thawed and bright green. Pour in the cream, sprinkle over the nutmeg and season with salt and pepper. Cook for 1 minute or until the cream is bubbling and slightly thickened. Taste and adjust the seasoning if needed.
Drain the pasta, reserving 125 ml (½ cup) of the cooking water.Toss the drained pasta through the cream sauce, ensuring that the pasta is well coated. Stir through the Parmigiano Reggiano, adding a splash of cooking water if you need to loosen the sauce. Stir vigorously to emulsify the sauce and allow it to coat everything.
Serve with extra Parmigiano Reggiano and another grind of pepper.