31 May 2009

Spring Pea Pasta

I went home from work on Wednesday planning to make some pasta with olive oil and garlic for dinner, as I hadn't really been shopping since we'd come back from New York. Usually, the first thing I do when I get home is read the Style section of the The Washington Post. Even though I could read the whole thing online during the day, I really am a bit of luddite and really like to sit on the couch and go through the paper, turning my fingers gray with newsprint. Reading the paper online just isn't the same for me.

On Wednesdays, the Post puts out its Food section so I start there before moving to style. The section, like most in the paper, has clearly lost some staff over the last few months and introduced a new format. Perhaps because of this, not many recipes have made the leap from the page to my kitchen. Last Wednesday though, the butterfly pasta with baby peas immediately caught my attention.

Farfalle is actually one of my least favorite pasta shapes, but the delicate sauce of peas and snap peas sounded really good. The fussy recipe, involving ice water baths, cooling, reheating and a blender, just seemed like too much for a Wednesday night and I thought that I could streamline the recipe and get a similar taste. I put a pot of water on to boil for the pasta and got started by chopping an onion and sweating it in a bit of butter. Then I poured in some vegetable broth and brought it to a boil. When the onion was soft, I poured in all but a handful of a bag of frozen petit peas and cooked them just for a minute or two. Out came the immersion blender and I whirred the sauce together with a few sage leaves, then drained the pasta and tossed it all together. Much easier than the original recipe. Granted, I didn't have the snap peas or shallot but I don't think the recipe was really harmed for the lack of them.

The bright green sauce livened up the mix of pastas (a result of the bare pantry) and a perfect, slightly sweet dinner for a spring night. Since the whole meal came together in the time it takes to boil and cook a pot of pasta, I'm sure this one will be on the menu again.

P.S. I had some extra sauce leftover, which I ate as a cold pea soup for lunch the next day. The original recipe suggests mixing leftovers with some greek yogurt for a dip...

Spring Pea Pasta
Adapted from The Washington Post
Serves 4 for dinner

10 oz. (280g) your favorite short pasta
2 T. (20g) butter
1 medium to large onion
2 C (480ml) vegetable broth (can sub. chicken broth)
1 lb (450g) fresh or frozen baby peas
3-5 fresh sage leaves (or your favorite fresh herb)

- Put a large pot of water on to boil. Chop the onion and add to a smallish saucepan with the butter. Sweat the onion over medium/medium low heat for 3-4 minutes. Add the vegetable broth, bring to a boil and cook for another 5 minutes.

- Add the pasta to the boiling water and cook according to the package directions. When the pasta has about 5 minutes left, add all but a large handful of the peas to the veggie broth mix. Boil for 2-3 minutes, until the peas are just tender. Take off the heat, add the fresh herbs and puree very carefully using an immersion blender or transfer to a blender and whir it away.

- Drain the pasta, return to the pot and add sauce to taste. Toss well and serve right away.


kat said...

Such a great spring dish. I can't wait until the peas are ready in my garden

Kerry said...

Thanks for posting this link in the comments for the Post recipe. I'm going to do it your (much simpler) way tonight.

Jen said...

Glad I could be of help-- let me know what you think about the finished dish.

Hannah said...

So simple but so wonderful- Sounds like such a quick and tasty dish!