Pisella con Prosciutto di Parma: Sweet Peas Parma

Sweet Peas ParmaThis is an old and much loved springtime dish from Parma. Freshly picked peas are best but frozen tiny peas substitute successfully when fresh ones are unavailable. Serve the peas as a side dish with roasted or grilled main dishes.

Recipe for 6 to 8 as a side dish.

Ingredients and equipment:

  • 1 pound shelled sweet peas or 1 pound frozen tiny peas, defrosted by rinsing in a colander
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 glove of garlic
  • 2 ounces Prosciutto di Parma
  • 3 tablespoons crushed canned tomatoes
  • Salt and pepper to taste


If using fresh peas, steam 4 to 8 minutes or until lightly cooked. When finished, rinse cold water to stop the cooking. If using frozen peas, rinse under cold water in a colander to defrost.

Heat the butter and olive oil over a medium heat. Lightly smash the garlic clove using a knife blade and your fist. Add the garlic to the butter and olive olive and swirl around. Once the garlic is golden brown, discard it. Don’t let the garlic brown or you’ll have a bitter taste. If you do burn the garlic, star over.

Coarsely chop the Prosciutto di Parma and add to the simmering butter and olive oil. Sauté for about 2 to 3 minutes until the pink color turns lightly brown. Make sure the tomatoes are well crushed with your hand and add to the pan. Cook until the mixture is thick.

Add the peas and cook over medium heat until warmed through stirring frequently. Season with salt and pepper and serve as a side dish. Don’t season earlier because the Prosciutto di Parma will add some salt.

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