Ptitim with Peas. Photo: from a family picture book
Ptitim with Peas. Photo: from a family picture book
Recipe

Ptitim with Peas

This is one of the dishes that Nona remembers from her childhood in Corfu, and it was prepared at the end of Shavuot

Italians have a pasta called “orzo” or “rizoni” – short pasta, which actually looks like our ptitim (Israeli Couscous). In Corfu, whose cuisine was heavily influenced by Italian cuisine, they prepared this pasta alone at home for Shavuot, and sent the children outside to look for green things to cook and decorate the table. That’s where this delicious and extremely simple dish was born – ptitim with peas.

And a bit of history: ptitim immigrated to Israel during the austerity period, when there was a shortage of rice. At that time, David Ben-Gurion turned to Eugen Propper, one of the founders of the Osem company, and asked to invent a wheat-based substitute for rice. This is how ptitim was invented and earned the name “Ben Gurion rice”. From time immemorial, our grandmother called ptitim “Ben Gurion rice” and this dish – ptitim with peas – was simply called: “Ben Gurion rice with peas”.

Ingredients for Israeli Couscous with peas

  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 1 onion finely chopped
  • 1 bag peas frozen
  • 1/2 package dill finely chopped
  • 3 tablespoons water
  • a pinch Salt
  • a pinch ground black pepper
  • 1 package ptitim (Israeli couscous) or orzo (1.1 lbs/500 grams)

Instructions

  • 1. Heat the oil a little in a wide, flat pot, add the chopped onion and fry until translucent.

  • 2. Add peas, dill, water, salt and black pepper.

  • 3. Partially cover the pot and continue cooking until the peas soften.  

  • 4. While the peas are cooking, prepare the ptitim according to the manufacturer's instructions.

  • 5. When the ptitim is ready and the peas are cooked, mix together and transfer to a glass (pyrex) dish for serving.

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Nona used flakes from the Italian company Barilla.

The recipe is taken from the book “Bendichas Manus [Blessed Hands] – Flavors from Nona’s House” compiled by the grandchildren of the late Esther Raphael (née Vivanta) – Chaim, Revital, and Assaf – and carefully preserved by her daughter, Simcha Yosef.

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