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Orecchiette with Spring Peas, Ricotta & Mint

Portland, Oregon: A new recipe! Now you know I must be feeling better, if I have been in the kitchen. It is true. Feeling stronger every day, but still not going out much. Thank you all for the kind comments and emails!

The project for today was to sort through my needlepoint supply cupboard, thinking this chore would only take an hour or so. Wrong! Four hours. Four grueling hours, but what a wonderful feeling to have everything sorted. This house purging business is good for the soul, people.

But, back to the kitchen... I have a recipe on this blog for Orecchiette (will I ever learn to spell this word?) with ricotta, basil and lemon. It is super easy and delicious, but to celebrate spring/summer and all the gorgeous peas in the markets, another version was required: fresh shelled peas, ricotta, Parmesan and mint - tossed with pasta.

Unless you have tons of free time and decided to stuff the filling into ravioli instead of simply tossing it with hot pasta. I cheated by purchasing fresh pasta sheets from my grocer and used my handy-dandy Ravioli Mold. Still, it was a lot of work.

Though it was delicious.

So, let's do it this way instead:

The shelled peas are boiled for a few minutes, then mashed together (with a fork) with the ricotta and parmesan, salt and pepper and tossed with hot pasta. The mint is added at the last minute. So easy. Even easier if you use frozen peas... but that's no fun. Shelling peas is very therapeutic.

Here is the recipe - don't forget to reserve a few peas for garnish and a bit of the pasta cooking water to thin the sauce. Manga!

This recipe tastes just like spring and summer. I use fresh peas, but one cup of (thawed) frozen peas may be substituted (no need to boil). The sauce can be made up to one day prior (tightly covered and refrigerated). This recipe serves two people very generously as a main course; easily doubled to serve 4-6 people. Orecchiette -  translates from Italian to little ears - is suggested here, but any small sauce-hugging pasta can be used.

One pound fresh pea pods, shelled (to create about one cup fresh peas)
3 Tablespoons very finely grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup whole milk ricotta
1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
A few turns of the pepper mill
1 Tablespoon minced fresh mint leaves
8 ounces (about 2 cups) dried Orecchiette or similar small pasta

Shell the pea pods and boil the peas in slightly salted water for five minutes. Drain, and run under cold water to cool. (Reserve a few peas as garnish, if desired.) Let drain. Place cooled peas in a small bowl, and using a fork, mash the peas roughly until they are about half smashed, then stir in the Parmesan, ricotta, salt and pepper. Use the fork to combine. The pea and ricotta sauce should be thick and a little chunky.

Meanwhile cook pasta according to package directions. Remove about 1/2 cup of the pasta cooking water to thin the sauce, then drain the cooked pasta. Return hot pasta immediately to the cooking pot and stir-in the pea and ricotta mixture, over a very low heat, until the pasta is well-coated, using a little of the cooking water to thin the sauce, if needed. Sprinkle minced mint over all and give a quick stir.

Serve immediately. Garnish with reserved peas, additional parmesan or additional mint sprigs (or all three!).

Serves 2 generously.

Go to the recipe page for this pasta

Until my next update, I remain, your easy-peasy correspondent.