I didn’t want to call this a gratin, because to me that signals that it’s loaded with cream and cheese and butter. I don’t want to mislead those who are looking for something decadent with a French accent or scare off those for whom this would make an ideal light lunch. The lid of melted, browned cheese is there but shows serious restraint.
The classic Roman dish piselli al prosciutto – peas and prosciutto – seemed like the perfect seasonal inspiration for something to have on hand to sustain me throughout the week. The prosciutto is sautéed with onions until the edges get a little crispy. The peas are briefly sautéed before the cooked rice is stirred in and the whole thing is bound together by eggs and a few handfuls of Asiago.
I’m already planning riffs on this as more things come into season, but the combination of salty prosciutto and sweet peas is classic for a reason. The savory depth of the ham and cheese is the perfect foil for the little pops of sweet, spring flavor.
This is the perfect flexible, make-ahead dish. It’s good right out of the oven, but slices reheat well and can be served room temperature, making them perfect for picnics. I even sliced off a square for a quick breakfast on my way out the door.