Reunited – Jamie Oliver’s Shell Pasta with Creamy Smoked Bacon and Pea Sauce

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Yeah yeah yeah…its been a while.  We cool?  Cool.

For the moment, I am going to spare you all the stories of what kept me from you for so long, and get right to a far more important matter – the slow rekindling of my relationship with Jamie Oliver.

I have always been a bit swoony for Jamie.  His recipes far outnumber any other celebri-chefs’ on this blog, and his philosophy on food jives right with my own.  Add to that the adorable accent and his being, in my opinion, somewhat easy on the eyes, and he had earned rightful inclusion on my Husband-Approved list of “five celebrities I would be permitted to make out with if the opportunity should arise”.  That was until, however, he stood me up for Thanksgiving dinner.

Long story somewhat shortened, through a series of phone calls with various producers and the approval of my painstakingly created Turkey Day menu, there was, in 2008, a very real I-could-almost-taste-it possibility that Jamie Oliver was going to join me and my family for Thanksgiving dinner in my Brooklyn home.  As you can imagine, this sent the staff at My Husband Hates Veggies Headquarters into something of a tizzy – a tizzy which I fully blame for the lack of cheese in that year’s Pumpkin Cheesecake and the obscene amount of money spent on a certain smart-looking tablecloth.  Husband was also in an entirely different kind of tizzy, with the impending arrival of the virile young celebrity chef that he had consented to allow his wife to snog.  Shakira, apparently, had not answered his invitation.

The heartbreak when Jamie never showed would have been manageable had I been in a sound state of mind.  I was, instead, seven months pregnant at the time, and felt quite sure that Jamie’s snub of my dinner party was directly related to the then gargantuan size of my butt.  The marked hormonal avalanche that followed resulted in an abrupt halt in the preparation of Jamie recipes, and his immediate exclusion from my Celebrity Snog List.

It is only now, nearly a year later, that I find myself letting a little bit of Jamie back into my heart.  There is a shiny new Jamie cookbook to devour, after all, as well as his continued devotion to improving the quality of school lunches and call for a rise in standards in the meat and poultry industries.  Why, I even cooked one of his new recipes today.  Yes, it would seem that Mr. Oliver has wormed his way back into my life, albeit in a now entirely platonic way.  What can I say?  My taste buds are the only body part aching for Jamie at the moment.  Could it be because he left me in my hormonally-heightened child-bearing state?

You can’t argue with pregnancy hormones, folks.  That shit’s primal.

Creamy Shells with Smokey Bacon & Pea Sauce
adapted from Jamie Oliver
serves 2  – 4

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
5 slices bacon, chopped
a large handful of fresh mint, chopped
8 ounces shell pasta
1 cup frozen peas
3 tablespoons creme fraiche
juice of one lemon
1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan
salt and fresh pepper to taste

Step 1: Start out cooking your pasta according to package directions in salted boiling water.  Step 2: Place a large saute pan over medium heat, and add the olive oil and butter.  Fry the bacon pieces in the pan until crisp, then add the frozen peas to the pan and stir well.  Step 3: Allow to cook for one minute then add the creme fraiche and chopped mint, stirring until the creme fraiche dissolves into a thick sauce.  Step 4: Drain the pasta and reserve some of the cooking water.  Add the pasta to the saute pan.  Stir into the sauce along with the lemon juice.  If the consistency is too thick, thin out with the pasta water.  Step 5: Cook the mixture together for a minute, then remove from the heat and stir in the parmesan cheese, along with salt and pepper to taste.  Serve.

This recipe actually worked pretty swimmingly as a veggie fake-out.  There was a moment when I thought I would sub the pasta with Husband’s favorite, farfalle, but at the last minute stuck with the shells the original recipe called for when I realized that the shells would cup the green peas like miniature bowls, while the farfalle may have inspired Husband to stab his fork at it and neglect his veggies.

A member of the legume family, green peas are loaded with heart-healthy folic acid, fiber, and good ole Vitamin C.  Husband ended up eating a full half cup of them in this tasty recipe, without even commenting on all the green in his dish.  On our Official Veggie Fake-Out Broccoli Head Rating Scale, I give this recipe six out of ten heads of broccoli.

11 comments to Reunited – Jamie Oliver’s Shell Pasta with Creamy Smoked Bacon and Pea Sauce

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