When I was growing up, my Italian grandmother (mom’s mom) was always making some type of pasta dish (or as she called it, macaroni): macaroni with meat sauce, macaroni with clam sauce, macaroni with broccoli, macaroni with chick peas….I could go on and on. One of my personal favorites from this seemingly endless arsenal of pasta classics is peas and hats.
I can still remember being in my first apartment, wishing for peas and hats and calling my grandmother to ask how she made them. I can still hear her saying “add a little bit of this, a little bit of that, cook it for a little.” I fully understood what she meant but for this recipe I needed to come up with some type of measurements so y’all can try this one out and I wanted to make it a one pot dish, similar to Martha Stewart’s Italian Wonderpot. I know the fewer the dishes to clean, the happier we all are!
The “technical” word for this domed-shaped pasta is orecchiette which means “little ear” in Italian because they apparently look like a small ear. We call them “hats” here in Utica, NY and think they resemble a little bowler top hat. Hats are typically found in the frozen pasta section of your store. I can remember my great-grandfather making these by rolling out small pieces of dough and then forming the “hat” out of the dough with his thumb. If you can’t find hats I would substitute with a small cut pasta like cavatelli, elbows, shells, bowties or even gnocchi.
Ahhhh…I’m ready to sit down with a nice glass of wine by the fire and enjoy a warm bowl of peas and hats! Enjoy!
- 5 strips thick cut bacon, chopped
- 1 cup onion, diced
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 5 cups low sodium chicken broth
- 1 cup peas
- 1 lb hat pasta
- ¼ tsp salt
- ¼ tsp pepper
- Pecorino Romano cheese to taste
- Parsley for garnish
- In a large pot, saute bacon on medium heat until brown. Drain 95% of the grease, leaving enough to saute the onions and garlic.
- Add onions and garlic to pot, season with salt and pepper to taste and saute until onions are translucent.
- Add chicken stock, salt, pepper and pasta to pot and bring to a boil. Cook 3 minutes.
- Add peas and bring back to a boil. Cook 3 minutes or until pasta is al dente
- Serve in bowls and garnish with parsley and romano cheese.
I prefer Pecorino Romano in the block form vs. the powdered form.