If you cook for others on a regular cadence, you’ll discover that not all the meals will be beautifully planned. Sometimes one thing leads to another and you forget to shop, or you forget that you need wood or propane or time to brine the meat. Sometimes you run out of time. Sometimes you run out of energy. Sometimes you just want to cook something simple and eat, toast one another, wash everything up, and take a long walk with the dog.
Pasta with peas and mint can answer that call, provide a bright summer evening on a plate. It’s a pantry meal for those who grow mint and always have dried pasta in a cabinet and a few bags of organic peas in the freezer. (It’s an easy shop for those who don’t.) You can use fettuccine or tagliatelle, though I like how medium shells hold the peas. Could you add some chopped bacon to the pan? Why, yes, you could, and that would be fine.
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 cloves garlic, peeled and thinly sliced
2 small shallots or 1 large one, peeled and thinly sliced
2 cups shelled fresh or frozen peas
1 pound dried pasta, such as fettuccine, tagliatelle, or shells
1 1/2 cups grated Parmesan cheese
2 large handfuls of mint leaves, either roughly torn or thinly sliced
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1. Set a large pot of salted water over high heat and allow to come to a boil.
2. Set a large sauté pan over medium-high heat and swirl the oil and 1 tablespoon of the butter into it. When the oil and butter shimmer and foam, add the garlic and shallots to the pan and stir. Cook, stirring, for a few minutes, until the garlic has started to soften and the shallots turn translucent. Add the peas and a splash of water and cook, stirring occasionally, until the peas are cooked through and the water has evaporated, 3 to 5 minutes.
3. Meanwhile, cook the pasta in the boiling salted water until it is just al dente, probably a minute or so less than the instructions on the packaging, then fish out a cup of the pasta water and drain the rest.
4. Put the pasta in a large, warm serving bowl and add to it the peas, along with the remaining 2 tablespoons butter, the cheese, and most of the mint, and toss to combine. Add a few splashes of the reserved pasta water to loosen everything up and give the pasta a sheen. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Sprinkle the remaining mint over the top of the pasta and serve.
Reprinted from See You on Sunday. Copyright © 2019 by Sam Sifton. Photographs © 2019 by David Malosh. Published by Random House, an imprint of Penguin Random House, LLC.
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