Snap Pea Pasta

IMG_0899

Here’s another Gaby recipe. I love it because it’s light and fresh. Snap peas are one of my favorite vegetables. Do I even have to mention my love of pasta?

This recipe is simple, using only a handful of ingredients. Fair warning: it takes time to thinly slice the peas. I lay three pea pods on my cutting board and slice them at once, to speed up the process. You also have to mince a shallot, garlic and zest/juice a lemon. None of those steps are difficult but are time consuming. You must, must, must prep these before you start cooking to make it stress free. I love to have things prepped. It helps you review the recipe.  I like to use a pasta that is long and thin, like a pea pod. The peas would get lost if you use a big, wide pasta like rigatoni. It would be visually unappealing to use small pasta like orecchiette. I found an artisan pasta that works well.

IMG_0897

Ingredients

1/3 cup Land O Lakes Butter with Olive Oil & Sea Salt*

12 ounces fresh sugar snap peas, thinly sliced

4 cloves garlic, finely chopped

1 shallot, finely chopped

1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes

Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper to taste

1/3 cup finely grated Pecorino Romano cheese, plus more to finish (or parmesan)

1 lemon, zested and juiced

10 ounces pasta

First, who sells 10 ounce bags of pasta? Use the whole 12 ounces. *Gaby is paid for influencing, so Land O Lakes sponsored her. You can use butter with a drizzle of oil and salt, or sea salt. Its’ main purpose is to sauté the shallots, garlic and peas. There will be no difference if you use Land O Lakes. I used it, and enjoyed slathering it on a saltine even more. Never tried that? Oh, you MUST.  Use your judgement with the garlic, shallot and lemon. They come in different sizes. I was fine with the garlic and shallot being various sizes. They become more subtle after they are sautéed. You may want to add more lemon to this recipe. Taste it and add more if you like.

Heat the butter and olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the snap peas, garlic, shallot and red pepper flakes; sauté for 4-5 minutes until garlic is fragrant and the snap peas are slightly sautéed. Season with salt and pepper.

 

IMG_0896

IMG_0898

Turn off the heat and add lemon juice and lemon zest.

Cook the pasta according to the package directions. Drain and add the cooked pasta to the skillet with the snap peas. Add the cheese and stir. Taste and add more salt, pepper and cheese to your liking.

I like to transfer it to a big bowl. You can add cooked chicken for protein or having something on the side. I made this the other night with steak. It was great.

Enjoy!

 

 

Pasta e Fagioli Soup

IMG_0371

I have yet another tomato based soup for you. They all begin to look alike, but each has its own characteristics. This soup will ward off vampires and warm your soul on a cold fall evening. I don’t know if the traditional pasta e fagioli soup included bacon, but bacon makes anything better. If you don’t normally consume bacon (WHAT?), you can buy it and divide into three or four sections, and freeze in plastic bags. I do this all the time. With the kids gone, leisurely Sunday brunches including one pound of bacon is just a mere memory. If you divide it, you can cook a few pieces for a weekend breakfast or use it in a recipe.  To make chopping bacon a little less messy, chop it while it’s slightly frozen. Really! I’ve cooked with store brand canellini beans so you don’t have to. I strongly suggest using a name brand, like Goya, when you cook.  I have found store brand canned beans can still be hard, even after cooking. When a recipe calls for a few ingredients, they should be the best you can get. I have had good luck with store brand diced tomatoes. My favorite part is the mini bowtie pasta. Adorable and delicious.  You can add more or less liquids. This is a great soup to bring for a work lunch. The pasta absorbs some liquid and, as most pasta dishes, tastes better the next day. Of course the garlic and work……oops.

 

4 slices (or more) or bacon, chopped rough

1 large onion

4-6 garlic cloves, minced

1 tablespoon minced fresh oregano or 1 tsp. dried

1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes

1  28 ounce can of diced tomatoes (I like petite diced tomatoes)

2  15.5 ounce cans of canellini beans, rinsed

4 cups chicken broth

1 cup of water

1 3/4 cups of dried small pasta like mini bowtie (perhaps a few more for extra luck)

1/4 cup mince parsley or 2 tbsp dried parsley

pepper to taste

1 cup of grated Parmesan cheese (freshly grated is best)

Cook the bacon in a large Dutch oven over medium heat until crisp. Don’t walk away. Bacon can burn, so stir the bacon, to keep eyes on it. Stir in the onion, garlic, oregano, and red pepper flakes. I add a healthy pinch of salt to sautéing onions. Cook until the onion is softened. Stir in the tomatoes with their juice, beans, broth, water and 1 tsp. salt. Bring to a simmer and cook for about 15 minutes. If you have a Parmesan rind, you can absolutely add it to the simmering soup.

Stir in the pasta and cook until slightly underdone. Off the heat, stir in the parsley and season with salt and pepper to taste. I like to add the Parmesan now. The original recipe adds it the bowls. I like to put the lid on the pan and let the soup sit for about 20 minutes, with the heat off. It gives the soup time to have all the flavors meld together and the pasta to cook a little more.

Enjoy!

 

Helpful Hint: You should always have all your ingredients ready. This means, onions are chopped and placed in a bowl, garlic pressed and put in a bowl, pasta measured, Parmesan grated into a bowl, cans of tomatoes opened and beans rinsed, drained and placed in a bowl. Having your ingredients ready will make cooking less stressful. It’s easier to be successful when can focus on cooking when you don’t have to rush, and potentially misread your recipe. As the French say, mis en place!