Shells and Shelled Peas

Back in the 50s - the 1950s, not mine - playwright Leslie Stevens, photographer Alex Singer and I made lots of excursions outside of New York City looking for the kind of "estate" which, we assumed, the owners could no longer afford to keep. Actually there were quite a few. 

The Singers lived in Greenwich Village before it was so trendy. The first time we dined with them to discuss our planned east coast film studio, Judy served pasta shells with peas, garlic, and parmesan cheese. We were all on a budget - how we were to acquire the aforementioned estate is a sign of youthful exuberance. In the end, Steve and Alex opted for west coast film making and I opted for my Great Grandpa's farm in Grassy Creek.

Shells and Shelled Peas

Cook a pound of small or medium pasta shells in lots of boiling water. Be sure to salt i5 heavily, so it tastes like sea water. Drain, reserving a cup of the cooking water in case the sauce needs thinning.

Meanwhile shell and cook peas in salted water. If you don't have fresh English peas, use frozen baby ones.

In a large skillet, melt a couple of tablespoons of butter, add 4 or 5 minced garlic cloves.

Cook briefly and gently not letting the garlic brown. Then pour in a quart of heavy cream, reduce a bit until it begins to thicken. Taste, add salt and freshly ground pepper, half a cup or so of parmesan - also freshly grated. Toss all together, heat through and sprinkle with a generous handful of chopped Italian parsley. A happy "estate," even with red wine in a jug.