Monday, May 24, 2010

Fresh Peas and Mint Spaghetti



Oh, peas.  How I love thee!  Call me crazy, but I think that peas make the top of my list of favorite vegetables ever of all time (while banana squash lands on the complete opposite end of that spectrum).  My friends always laugh at me because whenever I'm at the salad bar, I always end up with more peas on my plate than actual leafy greens.  It's the best part of a salad bar: all-you-can-eat peas!


So imagine my delight at the wealth of fresh peas at the farmers' markets lately!  Oh, there's nothing like fresh peas--the special snap and crispness that they have in them beats the frozen variety that I have to suffer through the rest of the year (though I do love those, too, when I have no other choice).  I don't even mind peeling them one pod at a time.  It's actually quite a therapeutic process for me to pop open each pod and run my fingers down the middle to scrape out all of the magical peas inside.  Like peeling pomelos, another favorite quirky pastime of mine.  (btw--does anyone know a good use for the pods besides the compost bin?  It always seems like such a waste!)


Anyways, I know that this is a dessert blog and all, but I hope that you all don't mind if I take up one post for a little tribute to the wonderful vegetable-love-of-my-life.  There was the possibility of making fresh pea ice cream (via David Lebovitz's The Perfect Scoop), but really, when it comes to the preparation of fresh spring peas, I like to keep things as simple and as uncomplicated as possible, because these little beauties stand on their own so incredibly well.


About as complicated as I'm willing to get is this fresh pea and mint spaghetti.  Basically, peas tossed in butter with al dente spaghetti, sautéed spring onions, and  refreshing mint leaves, and sprinkled with really good Parmigiano Reggiano.  Everything else in this dish here really just serves the purpose of showcasing the center-peas.  (haha--get it?  center-peas = centerpiece?  okay, okay, bad puns aside...)


Because of the incredible simplicity of this dish, it's really important to start with excellent raw ingredients: freshly made pasta (none of that dry stuff, if possible!), fresh peas and mint and spring onions, good butter and olive oil, and a nice, robust block of parmesan cheese.  All together, the freshness and snap of the peas and mint add a surprising sweetness to the pasta, with the parmesan cheese perfectly complementing and off-setting the sweetness-- the end result is a spaghetti that is seriously layered with all of these different flavors--from refreshingly crisp to deeply savory--that come together in a deliciously fulfilling spring-summertime lunch.  (And quite possibly one of the healthiest servings I'll ever present here on this blog! ;-P)


Alright, thanks for indulging me and my love for peas! It's times like these that make me so thankful to live in a city with two farmers' markets on two consecutive days so that when I unexpectedly polish off my pea-stash after the first day (oops!), I can still go and re-stock up for the week ahead the next day. Though, it would be even nicer if I had an endless supply of fresh peas every day....



Read on for recipe...


Peas and Mint Spaghetti
makes enough for 2

spaghetti, two servings (preferably fresh)
olive oil
2-4 cups peas, freshly peeled
butter
4 small spring onions, sliced
large handful of mint leaves, roughly chopped or torn into strips
salt
pepper, freshly ground
Parmigiano Reggiano, freshly grated

1. Cook the spaghetti until al dente. Toss with olive oil and set aside.
2. Steam the peas for 2 minutes until they turn bright green. Set aside.
3. In a saute pan, melt the butter over medium high heat. Add the onions, a dash of salt, and cook until the onions soften and look translucent.
4. Add the prepared spaghetti and peas to the onions and toss together, adding a bit of oil if necessary. Turn of the heat, toss in mint leaves, and salt and pepper to taste. Top generously with the grated Parmigiano Reggiano.


Enjoy!

21 comments:

  1. Oh. My. Gosh. Delicious, easy pasta dish? I'm so so there. I may have to go out and hunt down fresh peas.

    My favorite pasta dish is pasta with butter and Parmesan cheese.

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  2. This is what I'm talking about!!! I've been telling people about mint pesto for a couple of years now. It's so freshing and delicious and I bet it's incredible with those fresh peas.

    Ok... now I'm hungry.

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  3. hello s p e c t a c u l a r photos !!!

    i totally love peas, add them to all my salads. so great with avocado. guess what i had for lunch today ?! ;)

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  4. an amazing combination. very fresh and vibrant. fantastic photos, per usual -- so talented!

    cheers,

    *heather*

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  5. Thanks, everyone!

    @Rene: mmm... yes. good pasta w/ good butter + good Parm = AWESOME.

    @A Thought for Food: I was thinking about mint and peas pesto, actually! Have you tried that combination yet? If so, does it work?

    @Kerrin: oh, I would have never thought to have peas with avocado! Will have to pick up some avocados at the market next time to try it out.

    @Heather: thanks, again! :-)

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  6. Your photos are so beautiful! I love your styling.

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  7. Fresh peas are definitely severely underappreciated as far as veggies go! I love the ones you can get at the farmer's market at this time of year. This pasta is a great way to enjoy them, but I may also have to look into that ice cream!

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  8. I can just imagine the fresh spring flavor of this dish. I've got to try this while peas are in season.

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  9. Well, I have finally found my twin that was separated at birth. Peas are absolutely, hands down my favorite veggie and banana squash is my least favorite!

    OK. Want to know my perfect comfort food? Add some peas (for me that is a lot of peas) to your best tomato and basil sauce--long enough for them to cook. Then top your pasta with the sauce and some freshly grated parm. cheese. UMMMMMMMMMM! Great on a cold, rainy day.

    Oh, and to make banana squash more palateable (or however you spell it) try (after it is cooked) mixing in some brown sugar and butter. It doesn't do much for me, but it is better that way than plain.

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  10. Yummm. Maybe I'll will myself into making homemade pasta again so I can try this.

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  11. I love mint and peas with pasta....such a great combination of flavors...I usually make mine with tiny veal meatballs...sooo good!
    beautiful photos!!!

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  12. Stunning.... nothing less than stunning, Steph!

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  13. Wow!..it seems that veges can be a perfect dessert nowadays. Just last night, I saw on the television a man selling ice cream having vege flavors like ampalaya and chili and most kids love the taste!..Keep this up!...

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  14. I'm glad you uploaded this recipe. Simple but comforting! I love this kind of dish. I'm gonna cook it! :)

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  15. Thanks, everyone!

    @Debbie: so nice to meet a vegetable twin! :-D Even though brown sugar + butter sounds like a great combination, I'm afraid nothing will make me eat banana squash! ewwww!

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  16. I'm glad you uploaded this recipe. Simple but comforting! I love this kind of dish. I'm gonna cook it! :)

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  17. I love mint and peas with pasta....such a great combination of flavors...I usually make mine with tiny veal meatballs...sooo good!
    beautiful photos!!!

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  18. Yummm. Maybe I'll will myself into making homemade pasta again so I can try this.

    ReplyDelete
  19. Fresh peas are definitely severely underappreciated as far as veggies go! I love the ones you can get at the farmer's market at this time of year. This pasta is a great way to enjoy them, but I may also have to look into that ice cream!

    ReplyDelete
  20. Thanks, everyone!

    @Rene: mmm... yes. good pasta w/ good butter + good Parm = AWESOME.

    @A Thought for Food: I was thinking about mint and peas pesto, actually! Have you tried that combination yet? If so, does it work?

    @Kerrin: oh, I would have never thought to have peas with avocado! Will have to pick up some avocados at the market next time to try it out.

    @Heather: thanks, again! :-)

    ReplyDelete
  21. hello s p e c t a c u l a r photos !!!

    i totally love peas, add them to all my salads. so great with avocado. guess what i had for lunch today ?! ;)

    ReplyDelete

I love hearing from you and reading your comments! Thanks so much for stopping by the blog. Happy feasting!

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