Orecchiette with Peas

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Fresh Mint is the secret ingredient!
1 10 oz. bag Frozen Baby Petite Peas
1/2 lb. Orecchiette pasta
1/4 cup Fresh Mint leaves, chopped
2 cloves Garlic
1 Lemon
4-6 oz. Fresh Mushrooms, sliced (OPTIONAL)
1/4 cup Half-&-Half cream
2 Tbs. Olive oli
1/2 cup Parmigiano cheese, shredded
1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a rolling boil. Add frozen peas. Cook until they float to the surface, about 5-6 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, take out the peas & transfer to a large bowl. Bring that same pot of water back to a boil & add pasta.
2. Stir the pasta frequently, so the pasta water becomes cloudy, & cook pasta al dente. Note: when pasta is cooked, you need to save 1 cup of the pasta water before you drain it!
3. While pasta is cooking, saute mushrooms (if you are using them). Also, prepare your pea mixture like this: in the bowl of cooked peas, finely grate the garlic using a microplane. Then zest the lemon rind using the microplane. Add olive oil, cream, chopped mint and cheese. Now using a potato masher, mash up the mixture. You want it to be a combination of whole peas and smooth mushy parts.
4. In the pan of hot, drained pasta, add the pea mixture and mushrooms. Add about 1/2 cup of reserved pasta water. Squeeze the juice of lemon, tossing until the hot pasta melts the cheese, and it turns into a thick shiny sauce. If needed add more of the reserved pasta water.
5. Season generously with salt & pepper. Divide into bowls, add grated cheese and enjoy!
I never used to add the mushrooms, but now I LOVE them in this dish! The traditional way does not call for them, but they do work perfectly.

Paula Colangelo

Member since Jan 2010

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