A schedule change opened up opportunities for different meals and recipes. My husband was put on an evening shift. That meant I would be alone for dinner. It’s okay because he has had various shifts over the years and I am very familiar with cooking for one. It also meant I could cook more pasta dishes because he would rather have potatoes or rice. A quick look in my to-cook folder presented the first one to tackle. The color alone caught my interest. Green certainly stands out in Pasta with Spinach and Green Pea Sauce.
Eating the pasta brought back memories. I could vividly remember refusing to eat English Peas when I was a kid. There was enormous sheer disappointment every time I saw a bowl of them on the table. My parents simply gave up trying to get me to eat them. The dislike carried on for years and I now know why. Those English Peas were the canned ones. I’d still pass on them today. Fresh or frozen green peas are completely different.
The sauce is the true highlight of this dish. It has a velvety texture. The components offer subtle enhancements without overpowering the true green pea flavor. It has tarragon in it which is one of my favorite herbs. Tarragon can be strong so add a little at a time. Lemon does its usual brightening up of vegetables. Garlic matches with spinach so well that it has to be in there. Feta and pine nuts give final touches of saltiness and crunch.
Do you cook differently for yourself than your family? I tend to make more salads, pasta, and seafood when it is just for me. One thing I haven’t made in a while is Scallops Hong Kong Style and I see it happening in my very near future. Plus there are more new recipes to try. Stay tuned…
Pasta with Spinach and Green Pea Sauce
- 1 1/2 cups fresh or frozen green peas
- 3 tablespoons vegetable broth or water
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh tarragon*
- Zest of 1 lemon about 1 1/2 teaspoons
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 garlic clove chopped
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 8 ounces small shell pasta such as orecchiette
- 4 ounces baby spinach
- 1 ounce feta cheese crumbles
- 2 tablespoons toasted pine nuts
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Place peas in a strainer and set in boiling water for 1 minute. Rinse peas with cold water. Add salt to the boiling water for cooking pasta.
Place 1 cup peas in a blender and reserve remaining peas. Add vegetable broth, tarragon*, lemon zest, lemon juice, olive oil, garlic, salt, and pepper to the blender. Blend until smooth.
Cook the pasta in boiling salted water according to package instructions.
Place spinach in a large bowl while the pasta is cooking. Drain pasta and place on top of spinach. Toss to let the warm pasta wilt the spinach slightly.
Add pea sauce and toss to coat spinach and pasta. Add reserved peas and gently toss to combine.
Sprinkle feta and pine nuts on top. Serve immediately.
*Fresh tarragon has a strong flavor. For a milder tarragon accent, add a little at a time to the blender and taste after each addition. Use only the amount for your taste preference.
Recipe adapted from one in Cooking Light Magazine May 2014 edition.