From the kitchen of One Perfect Bite...A very busy and over-scheduled day meant that dinner tonight would have to be a quick and simple affair. I've wanted to try this recipe for a while now and this was the perfect evening to give it a trial run. The ingredients required to make it can be found in any well-stocked kitchen and the dish takes minutes to prepare. I'm happy to report that despite its simplicity, the pasta is also delicious and will become a regular feature in my kitchen. The pea puree that gives this dish its flavor is a bit like a pesto, but because it is served hot, it can become gummy if it is allowed to sit around too long. The pasta should be served as soon as all the ingredients are combined and I recommend you keep additional pasta water on hand to moisten the penne if required. If you can't find small sugar snap peas, snow peas make a great substitute. The lemon zest used here is vital to the success of this recipe. It adds zing and brightens the flavor of a dish that could be one note given its emphasis on peas. The recipe was originally developed for Gourmet magazine, where it was called Sugar Snap and Green Pea Penne. While descriptive, I thought that name lacked imagination, so it became Pease, Porridge Pasta. I really liked this dish and I think you might too. Here's how it is made.
Pease Porridge Pasta...from the kitchen of One Perfect Bite inspired by Gourmet Magazine
1/4 pound sugar snap peas, trimmed
2 cups frozen peas (10-oz.)
1-1/2 cups water, divided use
1-1/2 teaspoons grated fresh lemon zest
2 medium garlic cloves, minced and mashed to a paste with 1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 pound penne
1/4 cup grated Parmigiana Reggiano
1) Cut sugar snaps diagonally into thirds.
2) Bring frozen peas and 1/2 cup water to a boil in a small saucepan. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, until peas are tender, about 3 minutes. Transfer peas and cooking liquid to a blender. Add zest, garlic paste and oil. Puree.
3) Cook penne in a 6 to 8-quart pot of well-salted boiling water until al dente. Add sugar snap peas and boil for an additional 30 seconds, reserving 1 cup of pasta water, drain penne in a colander.
4) Add cheese and 1/3 cup reserved pasta water to pea sauce in blender jar. Puree until very smooth.
5) Toss penne and sugar snap peas in large bowl. Add pea puree and toss until penne is well-coated. Thin sauce, as necessary, with reserved pasta water. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Pass additional cheese at table if desired. Yield: 4 generous servings.
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