Monday, January 16, 2012

Piselli Con Asparagi E Basilico - Emilia Romagna Week II

I first delved into the culinary traditions of Renaissance Emilia Romagna several years ago, when I took an online food writing course offered by my friend, Monica Bhide. During April of that year (2008), Gourmet magazine featured many Italian recipes, including a handful from Ferrara, a town where the d'Este family kept one of their magnificent homes.

This bright and fresh side dish seemed especially appropriate amid the 60-something winter temperature of late yesterday. We served it beside baked sweet potato and broiled fish. ENJOY!

Piselli Con Asparagi E Basilico
Asparagus, Peas, and Basil
Makes 6 servings (I halved the recipe for me and my husband)

1/4 cup chopped shallots
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 pounds asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
3/4 pound shelled fresh peas (2 1/2 cups; 1 3/4 pound in pods) or 1 (10 ounce) package thawed frozen peas
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
black pepper
Handful of torn basil leaves, about 3/4 cup (VOE: I would likely use the entire 3/4 cup of basil in a half recipe, the next time that I make it)

Cook shallots in butter in a 12-inch heavy skillet over medium heat, stirring frequently, until just tender, about 4 minutes.

Stir in asparagus, peas, sea salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper, then seal skillet wiht foil. Cook over medium heat until vegetables are tender but still slightly al dente, about 8 minutes. stir in basil and sea salt to taste.

Note: Peas can be shelled and asparagus cut 1 day ahead and chilled, covered.

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