Meatless Monday: Pasta with mushrooms and peas

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BREAKING NEWS: The Wife ate peas tonight.

Writer finds list of foods The Wife has tried because of him and writes down peas, not that he’s keeping score.

IMG_3745This is a major accomplishment, I’ll have you know. The Wife hates peas, though I suspect it is because she has never had real peas. Not that the bags of frozen sweet peas are fake, but she has never tasted a freshly-shelled pea in her life.

IMG_3752The process of righting that wrong began on Saturday at the Central New York Regional Market. One of the local farmers was selling homegrown peas for $3 a quart. They looked like they were in good shape, so I picked up a basket and shelled them on Sunday. After giving them a good rinsing, I tasted them. They were sweet and full of that strong pea flavor that I like.

My mother would steam vegetables as a side dish out of laziness. They had spent enough time mashing potatoes and roasting meats that the veggies were basically an afterthought. On the flipside, The Mother-In-Law — whom I love — would saute everything that resembled a vegetable in butter. String beans, corn, peas…all would go into a saucepan with butter and come up limp and lifeless. Forget about the health benefits. The presentation was simply unappealing. It’s no wonder why The Wife and The Sister-In-Law refused to eat vegetables for so long.

IMG_3757WHAT WORKED: This sauce begs for a wide pasta. I was thinking pappardelle when I was putting this together. To my dismay, the widest pasta I had was farfalle. It actually worked better since everything was spoon-sized.

WHAT DIDN’T: This was pretty good overall.

WHAT DID THE WIFE SAY: Here’s where the rubber meats the road, right? How did she react? “I’m still not crazy about peas, but this was good.” Is there anything worse than a critic who isn’t you?

WILL IT MAKE ANOTHER APPEARANCE: The sauce may, but I’m going back for more peas. I’m going to break her anti-pea discrimination.

IMG_3743Pasta with mushrooms and peas
By Jared Paventi

  • extra virgin olive oil
  • 6 oz. mushrooms, sliced (I used white mushrooms, but crimini will work)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 quart fresh pea pods, shelled
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 2 to 3 tbsp. pecorino romano
  • 1 lb. farfalle, cooked to manufacturer’s directions

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Heat 1 tbsp. of olive oil over high heat in a saute pan. When the oil begins to shimmer, reduce the heat to medium and add the mushrooms. Sweat the mushrooms and brown on each side. Add the garlic and toss. If the pan is too dry, add another tablespoon of olive oil and toss to coat.

IMG_3758Increase the heat of the burner to high. Deglaze the pan with wine and reduce the liquid by half. Add the peas and cook 1 to 2 minutes. Add a half-ladleful of pasta cooking water and reduce slightly. Reduce the heat to medium-low and stir in the cream. Cook 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from heat, add the grated cheese and toss with the cooked pasta. Serve hot.

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