Serious Eats: Recipes

Eat for Eight Bucks: Spaghetti in Creamy Pea Sauce with Crisped Prosciutto

I love peas. When I'm told that someone doesn't like peas, I take it very personally. In fact, I make a point of unearthing and undoing whatever childhood trauma has led to this sorry state of affairs. There, there. Even if you were repeatedly subjected to canned peas, or to green peas boiled to yellow, we'll overcome this—together.

You see, if cooked gently and allowed to retain their bright green color, peas will surprise you with their sweetness. Let shallots and cream play up the peas' natural sugars, use crisped prosciutto to provide rousing, salty contrast, and you're on the road to pea rehabilitation.

And you've spent just $6.83 to get there.

The Shopping List

Note: Items bought in large quantities, like the pasta and prosciutto, have been pro-rated for cost. Ingredients a cook can reasonably be expected to have on hand are considered "Pantry Items" and are not factored into recipe cost.

10-ounce box frozen peas - $1.49
8 ounces whipping cream - $1.59
Half of a 3-ounce package of sliced prosciutto - $2.59 (total cost of item - $5.19)
Half of a 1-pound box of spaghetti - $0.99 (total cost of item - $1.99)
2 shallots - $0.17

Pantry Items
Butter, ground nutmeg (optional), salt and pepper

Total Cost


The Star Ingredient


I get nervous when I don't have cheap, versatile, frozen peas on hand. Freezing the peas doesn't seem to hurt them at all, and they can be dropped into anything from fried rice to stew to noodle soup without prior thawing. I put them in Thai-style omelets dressed with soy sauce, sesame oil, and chopped chilis; I sauté them with chopped bacon for a quick side dish, or I purée that same sauté with cream and chicken stock to make a silky, Kermit-colored soup.


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