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Pasta, Shell Peas, Mint and Scallions

It’s about time for all the fresh green produce to come into its own and take center stage. If your CSA or farmer’s market has landed you with some shell peas, you may now be appreciating the convenience of frozen peas. Shell peas, unlike sugar snap or snow peas, have to be shelled. For this recipe, shell the peas while watching John Carpenter’s The Thing (for example).

And yes, you can use frozen peas for this. No shelling.

The basic approach:

  • About 1 lb shelled peas (give or take) – less for frozen peas minus the shell;
  • at least 1 cup (dry) pasta of your choice – I used penne but medium or small shells would be perfect here;
  • 2 scallions (largish ones);
  • fresh mint – enough for about 2 tbs (or less )

Optional: 1/2 cup milk; cheese such as Parmesan, Gruyère or even cheddar; dry vermouth

Boil the pasta, and add your peas towards the end of the cooking time, so that they cook for about 2-3 minutes. Use same pot (pasta and peas drained, a bit of pasta water reserved) to melt 1 Tbs butter, and sauté the chopped white parts of the scallions, then add most of the mint. Let this cook a bit. Add pasta and peas into the pot, stir, add the green parts of chopped scallions. Optional step: add a splash of dry vermouth. Definitely add the reserved pasta water, turn heat to low, stir occasionally. Add a shot of sriracha and remaining mint – you can now serve this as is.

Alternately, keep going by adding the milk. Leave the heat low, and grate the cheese into the pasta and milk mixture. Let things meld until milk thickens a bit and cheese is melted. Voila, cheesy sauce. Add ground black pepper to finish.

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