English peas. When they start arriving at your farmers market, it’s one of the happiest signs of spring.
Although peas get a bad rap from insominac Princesses, a happy family of peas in their cozy little pods is a friendly image in many children’s books. Many babies eat peas among their first solid foods, their unpracticed fingertips pinching each pea. Then, as we grow out of the hide-your-peas-under-the-mashed-potatoes phase, we pea-lovers find a bowl of pea soup to be a comforting, nutritious and economical meal.
Today, I love to pick up a bag of fresh peas and settle into an overstuffed chair while I “unzip” the pods of plump, round peas. Clip or cut the stringy fiber near the stem and pull the other string down the pod to reveal a row of
pretty green peas. Go ahead a pop a few into your mouth as you work.
To me, fresh peas demand special treatment. In this recipe, they are added to a pot of fresh pasta at the end of the boiling time. It’s an easy and delicious recipe you won’t be too tired to prepare after a trip to the farmers market.
English peas and lemony pappardelle
1 pound fresh English peas, shelled
16 ounce package fresh pappardelle (dried is OK)
4 cloves garlic, sliced thin
1/2 cup olive oil
1 lemon, squeezed
4 sprigs fresh dill, chopped
salt to taste
Skin garlic cloves and slice thin. (Don’t crush the cloves; we want to see the slices in the final dish.) Add garlic to olive oil and set aside. The garlic will infuse the oil while the rest of the dish is prepared.
Shell peas by drawing fibrous string down one side of pod. Open and remove peas.
Bring about 6 cups of water to boil in a pasta pot. Salt water if desired. Add pappardelle and cook for the recommended time. Separate pasta as it cooks.
One minute before pasta is done, add peas and stir. Drain pasta and peas into a colandar.
Pour garlic oil and lemon juice into cooking pot, then return pasta and peas and toss thoroughly. Just before serving in shallow individual bowls or a large pasta serving bowl, sprinkle with fresh dill.
Lemon wedges and salt may be served on the side.
Serving suggestion: You may enjoy this dish served with marinated artichokes, as pictured here. These are prepared with a balsamic rosemary marinade and grilled per this recipe on the Food Network from Lazzerini Farms. I used a thick flavored balsamic from Wine Country Kitchens, so I cut the balsamic in half. What a delicious compliment to the pasta!