PASTA WITH PEAS, PROSCIUTTO, AND CREAM


The body of Tommy Protheroe lies outside his apartment house in Sunnyside, Queens, where he and his female companion, Elizabeth Connors, were shot by gangsters

Serves 4 (generously) as a main course

Shelled fresh peas need a little more cooking time than thawed frozen peas, so if you use fresh ones, add them to the cream after it has reduced for 2 minutes. As this pasta is unapologetically rich, a little goes a long way; you may be able to serve 6 in more modest portions.

1½ tablespoons unsalted butter
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 small onion, finely chopped
Salt and pepper
1 cup heavy cream
2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest
1 pound high-quality Italian egg fettuccine or tagliatelle
2 cups (1 10-ounce package) thawed frozen peas
¾ cup finely grated Parmesan (about 1½ ounces), plus extra to pass at table
1/3 pound prosciutto (about 11 generous slices), cut into ¼-inch strips
¼ cup chopped fresh parsley

In a very large nonstick skillet over medium heat, heat the butter and oil until the butter is melted and hot. Add the onion and ½ teaspoon salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 4 minutes. Add the cream and bring to a simmer. Continue simmering, stirring occasionally, until slightly thickened and reduced by a third, about 3½ minutes, adding the lemon zest about halfway through that time.

Meanwhile, in a large pot over high heat, bring 4 quarts of water to boil. Add 1 tablespoon salt and the pasta, and cook until just barely al dente (adjust heat if necessary to prevent water from boiling over). Reserve 1½ cups pasta cooking water and drain the pasta.

Add the pasta, 2/3 cup pasta cooking water, and peas to the skillet with the cream and cook over medium heat, stirring, until the pasta is al dente and well coated with the cream mixture, about 1 minute. Add the 3/4 cup Parmesan, prosciutto, pepper to taste, and most of the parsley and toss to combine, separating the prosciutto strips as you go. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper, and the consistency with additional pasta water, if necessary. Serve at once, sprinkling with a little of the remaining parsley and passing the remaining Parmesan.