Wandering through the farmers market last week I stumbled upon these beautiful blossoming pea tendrils. Tender and full of flavor, pea shoots are delicious eaten raw, just as they are, simply tossed into salads or very lightly wilted in a sauté pan with a little olive oil, shallot or garlic, and lemon. But the moment I saw them, I knew I had other plans for them. They belonged here in this pasta dish! Fresh peas are not quite in season here, but Trader Joe’s just happens to have fresh shucked peas in their produce section. Pretty crafty, those guys. This recipe for Spring Pea Pasta with truffle oil, lemon and mint can be served warm as an entree or chilled as a salad. Goat cheese can be added for extra richness, although it’s not needed. The pea tendrils are a bonus – if you can find them, use them, but if not, don’t sweat it. Toss in a little baby spinach or arugula if you like. The truffle oil however is absolutely worth the splurge and makes this dish special. Together with the fresh peas, lemon and mint, it’s one of my favorite combinations.
This is a quick recipe, and the peas can be blanched in the same pot as the pasta- just toss them in for the last minute.
The warm pasta will wilt the pea shoots.
The mint and lemon really compliment the peas and truffle oil ….a pasta dish that sings of spring.
- 1 pound pasta
- 3-4 cups fresh peas
- 5 scallions, thinly sliced
- 1 shallot, very finely diced
- 1 cup chopped fresh mint
- 1 cup chopped Italian parsley
- ½ cup olive oil
- 2 lemons - zest and ¼ cup juice
- 2 cups fresh pea shoots, baby spinach or arugula
- 1 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
- ½ teaspoon white pepper ( or black is OK)
- 1 tablespoon truffle oil - I prefer white
- Optional- goat cheese crumbles
- SEE Notes
- Boil pasta in a generous amount of salted water according to directions.
- During the very last minute of cooking, if serving this as a warm entree- add the peas to the pasta and just lightly blanch. ( See Notes)
- While the pasta is cooking, prep the rest of the ingredients.
- Chop the scallions, shallots and herbs.
- Zest two lemons, and measure out ¼ cup lemon juice ( you may need more).
- Once the pasta is just about done, add the peas to the boiling pasta water and blanch for one minute, or just until bright green. Immediately drain, place pasta and peas in large bowl, drizzle with olive oil, lemon juice and season with 1 tsp salt and ½ tsp pepper.
- Toss in the pea shoots (or other greens) and add the scallions, shallot, herbs and lemon zest. Stir
- Taste, adjusting salt and lemon juice, adding more of both, if necessary. ( Sometimes pasta takes a while to absorb the salt and lemon - so make sure to taste this again after a few minutes -the saltiness will have settled down quite a bit, and you may need more especially if you did not salt your pasta water)
- Drizzle with truffle oil and serve immediately.
- NOTE: if making this as a pasta salad-- make sure to rinse pasta and peas in very very cold water to stop the peas from cooking any longer...this will help them keep their lovely bright green color. If making the pasta salad ahead, always taste it right before serving, it may need a little more seasoning ( salt, lemon, oil, truffle) Add the goat cheese right before serving.
- This serves 4 as a main course or 8 as a side salad.