By David Harbilas
There is a story about this dish, which may not seem too interesting to some.
When I was a teenager I ate out with my family a lot, many times at some very nice restaurants in and around the Boston area.
One of these restaurants was called Ponte Vecchio, located in Danvers.
It may still be in business, but it has since become a memory for me. Their signature was a table-side filleted whole fish dressed with lemon and olive oil, but for our family a simple pasta dish made with rigatoni, proscuitto, peas, tomatoes and cream was it.
It took me a while to warm up to the dish, since I’d first loved a fusilli recipe made with a simple tomato-basil sauce. But my brother’s insistence that his favorite pasta ponte vecchio was better than my short-lived favorite eventually won me over.
- 1 pound rigatoni or penne pasta
- About Â¼ cup proscuitto, thinly sliced into ribbons
- 2 cups peas, blanched
- 1 cup chopped tomatoes
- Â½ cup white wine
- 2 cups heavy cream
- Â¼ cup parmesan cheese
- Â¼ cup chopped basil
- Olive oil
- Salt and pepper to taste
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and add 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Meanwhile, begin the sauce by heating a tablespoon of olive oil in a large sautÃ© pan over medium-high heat. Add the proscuitto and cook slightly, without crisping. Add the tomatoes and cook for about 5 minutes, making sure that they break down slightly and release some of their juice. Add the white wine and cook an additional 5 minutes.
Add the heavy cream, stir and cook about 10 minutes, or until slightly thickened. The sauce should be a pale pink color. Add the peas and heat them through. Meanwhile, cook the pasta in the pot of boiling water until al dente. Drain well and add to the sauce. Toss the pasta well to coat in the sauce, add the basil and parmesan and season to taste with salt and pepper.