Spring Peas

I have been waiting weeks for the first sugar snap peas to appear at the farm, just so I could make this recipe from Joshua McFadden’s book Six Seasons: A New Way With Vegetables. I made it once last spring and before I could repeat the experience, the hot sun had killed off this early season crop. This is the thing about the peas and the asparagus and radishes: they are everywhere in abundance for a short time and then gone. In this recipe, the peas are sliced very thinly and added to the spaghetti during the last few seconds of boiling, then the drained mixture is tossed with pancetta and butter, parmesan, pecorino and black pepper. The combination of very rich pasta with a shower of bright green, fresh crisp vegetables is magical.

Even if you don’t follow this exact recipe, the technique of finely slicing the peas and tossing them into the pasta as it finishes cooking is an easy one to riff on. I’m also planning to sauce them whole in the butter-cheese-pepper mixture and serve that with a grilled steak. And because I can’t resist the novelty, my Memorial Day Weekend plans include a cocktail from Eating Well magazine, a mint julep variation that includes a pea-infused simple syrup and “pea blossoms for garnish, if you’re lucky enough to find them.” Which we are. For now, anyway.

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Darlene Barnes