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Easy-Peasy Peas with Prosciutto, Tomato and Onion

Cristina Ferrare spent her childhood learning to cook at her grandmother's knee. Now the talk show host freshens up a favorite family recipe

Christine Ferrare

Erin Kunkel

Cristina Ferrare, host of the Hallmark Channel's 'Home & Family'

En español | My grandmother lived with us in Cleveland while I was growing up. From the time I was 2 or 3 years old, she and my mother would give me things to do in the kitchen, like shelling peas. Getting those little guys out of their pods took up a lot of time — and we had a large family, so I had to shell a lot of peas. But it was magical for me. Our home was full of life and activity. Every meal was like a celebration.

Even today, when I was at the market getting the peas for this recipe, I had the same excited feelings I had as a little girl. It felt as if I had 90 pounds of peas to shell, and I asked my husband to help. So we sat and shucked peas for an hour, and we talked and had fun. I associate cooking with happy times growing up.


When my grandmother made peas and prosciutto, she'd cook the heck out of it for an hour. I modernized this recipe, but it's still incredibly simple — especially if you use frozen peas.

Even though I don't cook it so long, it has the same flavor and smell as my grandmother's version. The peas and onion blend with the saltiness from the prosciutto. The tomatoes offer a bit of sweetness and tang.

People eat with their eyes first, so I'll put a few puffy peas on top, just blanched a few minutes. This provides a bit of al dente crunch.

I always make a big batch of this recipe, then use the leftovers mixed with pasta, with a tiny bit of cream. I'll also blend leftovers in a soup so they're really smooth and delicious. You cook once and get three dishes.

My children were always in the kitchen with me, all the time. And, yes, when my grandchildren come to visit, I put them to work in the kitchen. My youngest grandchild is asking me questions about how the pasta cooks, why the green beans have seeds. It's the lure of the kitchen. She's showing some promise. —As told to JoBeth McDaniel

a plate of green peas on a wooden tabel

Erin Kunkel

Peas with prosciutto, tomatoes and onion

Peas With Prosciutto, Tomatoes and Onion

Serves 6

  • 1 (16-ounce) bag frozen baby peas or 1 pound shelled fresh peas
  • 3  tablespoons olive oil
  • 3  slices imported prosciutto, chopped
  • 1½ cups chopped tomatoes, fresh or canned
  • 1  large yellow onion, sliced thin
  • ½  teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½  cup water

How to make

1. If you’re using shelled fresh peas, cook them in boiling water for a few minutes, until tender. Reserve a few peas for garnish.

2. Place all the ingredients into a saucepan over medium heat, cover, and bring to a gentle boil. After 10 minutes, gently mix with a wooden spoon. Cover and continue to gently boil for an additional 30 minutes, checking every 10 minutes to make sure all the water has not evaporated. If it has, add ⅓ cup water. Season to taste.

3. Pour into a serving bowl. If using fresh peas, garnish with reserved peas. Serve immediately.

Nutrients per serving: 149 calories, 6g protein, 14g carbohydrates, 5g fiber, 8g fat, 4mg cholesterol, 409mg sodium


A bowl of pozole


Serves 12

  • 4 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 pound pork tenderloin, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, crushed through a garlic press or finely minced
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin powder
  • 3 cups chicken stock
  • 1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes
  • 1 (15-ounce) can white hominy, drained and rinsed

  • 1 teaspoon chopped jalapeño
  • 12 corn tortillas
  • 1 cup diced roasted chicken breast
  • 1 avocado, sliced
  • 2 scallions, chopped
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 lime, sliced

How to make

1. Heat a large stockpot until it's hot. Add the canola oil, pork and salt; sauté until the pork is opaque on all sides, 5 to 8 minutes. With a slotted spoon, transfer the meat to a bowl and set aside.

2. Add the onion to the pot; sauté until the onion has softened and started to caramelize, 8 to 10 minutes. Add the garlic, chili powder and cumin, and cook for 1 minute, stirring to blend all the spices evenly. Add the chicken stock, tomatoes, hominy, jalapeño and sautéed pork. Bring to a boil over high heat. Cover; reduce the heat to low. Simmer for 90 minutes. Taste; add salt if necessary.

3. Just before you are ready to serve, heat the oven to 400° F. Wrap the tortillas in aluminum foil and bake for 6 to 8 minutes.

4. Add the diced chicken breast to the simmering soup; heat through until hot. Ladle the soup into bowls and garnish with avocado slices, scallions and cilantro. Serve with slices of lime and warm tortillas.

Nutrients per serving: 243 calories, 13g protein, 26g carbohydrates, 4g fiber, 11g fat, 28mg cholesterol

Cristina Ferrare, 66, is the host of the Hallmark Channel's Home & Family.

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