Shells with Artichokes, Peas & Prosciutto

4 cups of water mixed with the juice of 1 1/2 lemons (reserve other half for another use)

1 can artichoke hearts, drained

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

2 cloves garlic, minced

1/2 red onion, finely chopped

1 tsp kosher or fine sea salt

1 tsp finely chopped fresh thyme

freshly ground black pepper

1 1/2 cups thawed frozen peas

3/4 cups  heavy/double cream

1 to 2 oz thinly sliced prosciutto, cut into julienne strips

1 lb dried medium pasta shells

1/2 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese


Add the artichoke hearts to the lemon water in a bowl.

In the meantime bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil and salt generously.

Warm the olive oil, garlic, and onion in a large frying pan placed over medium-low heat. Cook, stirring, for a minute or so, or until the garlic and onion are fragrant. Drain the artichokes, reserving 1/2 cup of the lemon water. Add the artichokes to the pan, along with the salt, thyme, and a few grinds of pepper. Pour the reserved lemon water over the artichokes. Raise the heat to medium-high and bring the liquid to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low, cover, and let the artichokes cook at a gentle simmer for a few minutes. Uncover, raise the heat to medium-high, and cook until only about 1/8 cup of the liquid remains.

Stir in the peas and cook for about 1 minute, or until they are bright green. Add the cream, reduce the heat to medium-low, and ck for 5 to 7 minutes, or until the sauce has thickened. Turn off the heat, stir in the prosciutto, and cover to keep warm.

Add the pasta to the boiling water, stir to separate, and cook according to the manufacturer's instructions until al dente. Drain the pasta in a colander set in the sink, reserving about 1 cup of the cooking water.

Transfer the pasta to the frying pan and gently toss the pasta and sauce to combine thoroughly, adding a splash or two of the cooking water if necessary to loosen the sauce. Sprinkle in half of the Parmigiano-Reggiano and gently toss again. Transfer the dressed pasta to shallow individual bowls and sprinkle with the remaining cheese. Serve immediately.

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