Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Spring Pea Pasta

I know I keep saying it, but y'all, I love spring! Actually, I'm finding that as I get older, I really love every season. As I mentioned in yesterday's post, I love the changing of each season and the happiness each one brings in their own ways. Each season has a perk (or perks) and dining al fresco is definitely a perk of spring! It was too pretty to be inside this weekend, so I set up a simple spring lunch on our little bistro table outside and made a pasta dish with tons of spring flavors - because 'tis the season!

The first thing that comes to my mind when I think spring food - peas! So when I saw this recipe for a yummy spring pea pasta, topped with truffle oil, I was 100% sold and immediately added it to my "must make" list. The ingredients just scream spring and make the perfect, satisfying bite when combined together. It's a comforting dish, because pasta (duh), but also light and refreshing at the same time. The freshness of the herbs, peas, and lemon juice really give it a nice bite, and the truffle oil brings it to a whole new level. I buy my truffle oil at Williams and Sonoma because it's one of those ingredients where I think quality really does make a difference. You can buy your own bottle here!

I think this dish is perfect to make for Easter weekend! Not only is it tasty, but it makes for a great presentation with all the green color - great for an Easter table setting. It makes a wonderful meal on its own, or you can enjoy it as a side. I served mine warm, but it can also be made ahead and brought as a cold pasta salad. Just add the truffle oil right before serving! Let me know if you try it out - I would love to hear your thoughts! I ate two bowls in one sitting... because pasta. It is what it is.

1 pound pasta
3-4 cups fresh peas
5 scallions, thinly sliced
1 shallot, finely diced
1 cup fresh chopped mint
1 cup fresh chopped Italian parsley
1/2 cup olive oil
2 lemons - zest 1/4 cup juice
2 cups fresh pea shoots, or baby spinach or arugula
*for reference, I used arugula
1 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
1/2 teaspoon white pepper (or black is ok)
1 tablespoon white truffle oil (you can purchase here
Optional: goat cheese
*for reference, I served without cheese

- Boil pasta in a generous amount of salted water according to directions.
- During the very last minute of cooking, if serving this as a warm entree- add the peas to the pasta and just lightly blanch. (See Notes)
- While the pasta is cooking, prep the rest of the ingredients.
- Chop the scallions, shallots and herbs.
- Zest two lemons, and measure out ¼ cup lemon juice ( you may need more).
- Once the pasta is just about done, add the peas to the boiling pasta water and blanch for one minute, or just until bright green. Immediately drain, place pasta and peas in large bowl, drizzle with olive oil, lemon juice and season with 1 tsp salt and ½ tsp pepper.
- Toss in the pea shoots (or other greens) and add the herbs and lemon zest. Stir
- Taste, adjusting salt and lemon juice, adding more of both, if necessary. ( Sometimes pasta takes a while to absorb the salt and lemon - so make sure to taste this again after a few minutes -the saltiness will have settled down quite a bit, and you may need more especially if you did not salt your pasta water)
- Drizzle with truffle oil and serve immediately.

NOTES: if making this as a pasta salad-- make sure to rinse pasta and peas in very very cold water to stop the peas from cooking any longer...this will help them keep their lovely bright green color. If making the pasta salad ahead, always taste it right before serving, it may need a little more seasoning ( salt, lemon, oil, truffle) Add the goat cheese right before serving. This serves 4 as a main course or 8 as a side salad.

Photos by Catherine Truman