Behold! A delightful lunch of orecchiette with peas and tomato in a saffron-pesto-cream sauce scented with Marsala wine, topped with fresh parmesan. With a glass of crisp white wine, this is a win-win!
Call me cannibal-curious, but there is something strangely satisfying in eating pasta shaped a bit like an ear. <crickets>… Anyhow, take some orrecchiette and boil it until at desired cookedness and set aside.
Important ninja note: conserve the pasta water.
Sauté a small, chopped onion in butter and olive oil. Take a few strands of saffron and soak them in lukewarm water in a small bowl. Take 1 cup of frozen peas and let them thaw in a bowl covered in warm water. Unless you have fresh peas, which need no soaking – even more exciting.
When the onions are soft, toss in a roughly chopped up small tomato. Let them sizzle together, nicely at medium heat. Sprinkle a bit of salt and stir. Then add in 1/2 cup dry marsala wine (you can also use white wine). Toss in the peas, and then 2-3 Tbsp of pesto and the saffron with its water. Add in about 1/2-1 cup pasta water and stir. After about 5 minutes, turn down the heat, add in 1/2 cup of cream (at least 10% fat, 15% is perfect). Give it a quick stir, turn off the heat, ladle into attractive bowls, garnish with freshly grated parmesan and ground pepper and eat immediately.
For a non-veg variation, add in some pancetta, prosciutto or bacon.
why must I conserve the pasta water please?
My reasons are two-fold: one, I prefer not to waste water if I can use it in something. And secondly, one can use the pasta water to help bring back moisture if a dish gets too dry with cooking, and it can help the pasta adhere to whatever sauce you are making better than plain water. Here’s a handy article on this: http://www.chefs.edu/Student-Life/Culinary-Central/October-2011/Pasta-Water-Why-Some-Recipes-Call-For-You-To-Save-It