This is a meal I can recall my mom making for dinner many times for our family when I was young. It is a classic meal that she learned how to make growing up in Italy. While I was in Italy this past summer, my cousin served this for a Primo Piatto course for the August Holiday, called Ferragosto. This is a huge holiday on the 15th of August. If you are a tourist visiting Italy, this is a terrible time to go for vacation, because tourist attractions, family run restaurants, and other businesses shut down for a few days to go on holiday with family. If you are not a tourist and are in Italy this time visiting Italian relatives, then it is a wonderful time to spend with your family, eating a large meal, drinking good wine, and conversing. In my mom's village (Carpinone) the whole village goes to church that morning of the holiday and follows a statue of the Madonna all around the village to the church of a famous St. Rocco. We then go join our families for a meal at 1:00 and the following day the whole village meets again at the church the statue was dropped off at and we all walk to bring her back. This sounds a little crazy, but it is tradition and I enjoyed participating in this. Whenever I make this meal now, I think about dinners with my family as a kid and my holiday dinner with my family for Ferragosto in Italy. Please feel free to add as much or as little ham, asparagus, or peas to your liking.
* 1/2 lb of Asparagus
* 1 1/2 cups of Peas (I used Frozen Peas)
* Smoked Ham from the Deli about (1/8) inches thick
* 2 pints of Heavy Cream (I used Light Cream and could taste no difference)
* 1 lb of Garganelli Pasta (My mom use to use Garganelli and my cousin in Italy used Shells, doesn't matter)
* 1 cup of freshly grated Parmesan Cheese
* 3 TBSP. of Extra Virgin Olive Oil
* Cut the tips off of the asparagus and cut into large chunks
* Heat up Olive Oil in a frying pan and cook Asparagus on medium-Medium Low heat until tender (about 15 minutes)
* Meanwhile Start boiling the Pasta and when done Drain.* Dice the Ham with a knife into small even pieces.
* Once the Asparagus is tender, add the Ham and the Frozen Peas to the frying pan and stir until the Peas are cooked and the Ham is hot (about 5 minutes).
* Add the Heavy Cream (or Light) along with the Grated Cheese and mix until it comes to a simmer.
* Season with Salt and Pepper to taste.
* Toss with the hot Garganelli Pasta* Serve with some Grated Cheese on top!
Here a few photos from Ferragosto in Carpinone, Italy:
|Here are the men after mass getting ready to lift the statue to walk her around the village.|
|My mom, brother, me, and Nonna after church ready to walk around the village following the statue.|
|Following the Madonna for miles with the People in the Village|
|Still walking with the Statue|
|Celebraaing Ferrogosto with a great meal with the family after walking all morning|
|My cousin's version of the above recipe.|