You might think, with a name like Please Pass the Peas, that this website would laud the lowly pea now and again. But I recently realized that I’ve so far posted just one recipe featuring green peas — and then only in a supporting role.
All the while we’ve been eating peas on the regular, mostly paired with pasta and doused in a luscious but oh-so-simple cream sauce.
This pasta dish is in regular rotation around here, where Paul likes it because it’s saucy and filling and I like it because it’s an astoundingly easy meal in a bowl.
A couple of weeks ago, one of the vendors at our local farmer’s market started offering fresh English peas still in their pods. They would be perfect for this recipe. But if you, like me, don’t always have time for shelling fresh peas, there’s no shame in using frozen.
I always keep frozen peas on hand for times when I want a little something green on my plate and am running low on fresh produce or need to get dinner on the table in a hurry. In fact, this recipe is kind of my ace in the hole for times like that.
Now it can be yours too.
I especially like saucer-shaped orecchiette or the pinched tubes of pipette for this dish, but any short pasta is fine.
This recipe is also a very forgiving one. Don't have a shallot? Use onion, leeks, or even a clove of garlic instead. Don't like gorgonzola? Stir in a little parmesan in its place. No lemon? Just leave it out and move on.
- 12 ounces short pasta like orecchiette or pipette
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 large shallot, finely diced
- 3/4 cup heavy cream
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 2 ounces gorgonzola
- 2 cups frozen green peas
- juice of one lemon wedge
- 1-2 tablespoons mint, cut into thin ribbons
- freshly ground black pepper
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook until al dente.
While the pasta is cooking, heat the olive oil and butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the diced shallot and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened. Add the heavy cream and salt and continue to cook, stirring from time to time, until the cream begins to reduce and thicken. Crumble the gorgonzola into the sauce. Reduce heat to low.
When the pasta is almost finished cooking, add the peas to the same pot and cook for one minute longer. Reserve 1/2 cup of the starchy pasta water and set aside.
Drain the pasta and peas, then add both to the cream sauce, stirring to combine. If the sauce is too thick, thin with a little of the reserved pasta water, one tablespoon at a time, until the desired consistency is reached.
Remove from heat and stir in the lemon juice. Add the mint and a few grinds of black pepper.