Fresh, dried, canned and frozen – peas are readily available in many shapes and forms, but only about 5% of the peas grown are sold fresh. Frozen peas are able to retain their color, texture and flavor, but they don’t have an unlimited shelf life. It is recommended that they are consumed within 6-12 months of the packing date. Overall, frozen peas are recommended over canned peas. Peas are rich in potassium, phosphorus, protein and group B vitamins, and good quality peas can be recognized by their smooth, elastic and bright color. Green peas also stand out as an environmentally friendly food, because according to agricultural research, pea crops can provide the soil with important benefits. Green peas are perfect for numerous recipes, as side dishes e.g. with pancetta, and as an ingredient in pastas and risottos. Here, the peas provide a colorful and healthy addition to this Sicilian dish.
1 onion, sliced
3-5 garlic cloves, minced
500 gr/1 lb lean minced beef
2-3 Italian sausages, casing removed
2.5 dl/ 1 cup red wine
500 gr/ 17 2/3 oz passata di pomodoro
200 gr/ 7 oz frozen peas
fresh flat leaf parsley, chopped
salt and pepper to taste
150 gr/ 5 1/3 oz cheese, a combination of freshly grated Parmigiano and freshly grated smoked cheese
mezzi rigatoni pasta
Heat olive oil in a pan and saute the onion and garlic for a few minutes until the onion becomes golden. Add the minced meat and the sausages and continue frying. Pour the red wine in and let it evaporate. Add the passata di pomodoro, fresh parsley, and season with salt and pepper. Then reduce the heat, and let the sauce simmer for about 30 minutes. Add water if necessary. Add the frozen peas into the mixture and cook for another 20-30 minutes on a low heat. Once the sauce has thickened, take the pan off the heat.
Meanwhile, cook the mezzi rigatoni al dente in salted boiling water. After draining, mix the pasta with the sauce.
Add the freshly grated parmigiano cheese and the smoked cheese of your choice to the pasta mixture and mix thoroughly. Grease a deep oven tray with some olive oil. Bake in the oven, preheated to 180 C/ 355 F, for about 30-40 minutes. Let the pasta rest for a few minutes before serving. Sprinkle some parmigiano on top.