This is a lovely dish for a summer evening, it has a few separate elements to prepare but doesn't take long and is best served warm rather than hot. I wouldn't normally use a hard to come by ingredient such as pea shoots, but I've noticed several supermarkets have started to sell them and they do add another level of taste as well as fun presentation to the dish along with the crispy Parma ham and fresh Parmesan shavings.
Summer pasta; broad bean, pea, Parma ham
200g pasta, Mafalda Corta or similar
200g peas, fresh or frozen (podded weight)
200g broad beans, fresh or frozen (podded weight)
1 small packet of Parma ham or similar, 4 slices approx
2 large tbsp crème fraiche
1 tbsp chopped fresh mint
1 tbsp chopped lemon thyme (optional)
Fresh Parmesan shavings & pea shoots to garnish
Firstly prepare all the individual elements before bringing them together to serve, this could be done in advance.
Cook the pasta in boiling water then drain, refresh under cold running water and return to the pan with a good splash of olive oil to prevent it sticking.
To cook the fresh peas and broad beans firstly remove from the pods. Bring a large pan of water to the boil, add the beans and peas and return to the boil for about a minute then drain immediately. Place the beans and peas straight into a large bowl of very cold (preferably iced) water to stop them cooking and set aside. If using frozen vegetables, place beans and/or peas in a bowl of cold water and leave to defrost.
Heat a frying pan until very hot, add a small drop of olive oil before carefully laying the Parma ham in the pan. Cook quickly on either side until crispy then remove onto a plate lined with kitchen paper to absorb the excess fat.
Drain the beans and peas and pod the individual broad beans, some people think this is too much hassle but I find the skins can be bitter and the bright green bean inside has a lovely delicate flavour.
Take half of the beans and peas and roughly mash them either using a pestle and mortar, food processor or even a potato masher! In a small bowl stir them together with the crème fraiche, fresh herbs and season well to taste.
Place the pasta on a low heat, add the crème fraiche mix and stir gently until warm. Either add the remaining peas and beans now to the pan to warm through or use to garnish on the plate. Grate or shave (using a vegetable peeler!) plenty of fresh Parmesan over the pasta, add the crispy Parma ham strips whole or snip into pieces with scissors and pile high with pea shoots to serve.