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I am a simple country girl who loves life and lives it to the fullest. I cook for one of the greatest families ever. Cooking is my passion and I consider it as well to be my gift.

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Saturday, January 30, 2010


Several winters back i worked in the kitchen at the Villa Sorento in Banner Elk. Every restaurant or club I ever worked in was a learning experience. The Acceturo family that run the Villa are wonderful people and were very good to me. I worked hard, did not take any breaks because I don't smoke, and I picked up lots of useful information for my cooking career.
Mrs. A would come into the kitchen and cook for us. My most memorable dish that she cooked was Rice with Peas. Very simple, yet so divine. I loved all of these people and would like to thank them for the experience of loving, and cooking, authentic Italian food. Here is my take on her so special dish.

2 lbs. tender young fresh peas in the pod, or 1/2 lb. frozen petite peas
2 slices pancetta or unsmoked bacon, chopped
1 small onion, chopped
3 Tbsp. butter
1 Tbsp. olive oil
6 cups meat or chicken stock
1 cup Arborio rice
salt and pepper to taste
1 tsp. sugar
2 Tbsp. finely chopped parsley
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese (the good stuff)

Shell peas or if using frozen peas, cook the rice first and stir defrosted peas in when the rice is almost cooked.
Fry the pancetta or bacon with the onion in half the butter and the oil until onion is soft. Add fresh peas, if using, cover with a little hot stock and simmer for 10 to 15 minutes, depending on how fresh the peas are.
Pour in the rest of the stock and bring to a boil. Add the rice, season with salt and go heavy on the pepper. Add sugar and cook gently, stirring occasionally, until the rice is tender. Stir in the rest of the butter with the parsley and cheese. Serve hot. All else you need is some crusty bread.

"At court the pea saga still continues. The desire to eat them, the pleasure of having eaten them and the joy of eating them again are the three topics on which our princes have dwelt for the past four days. There are ladies who, after having dined with the king, and dined well, at home find peas to eat before they go to bed, despite the risk of indigestion. It is a fad, a craze, and the one follows the other."-Madame De Maintenon

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