Sibling Gathering Recipe: Leeks, Lemon, Pasta, and Peas

Last Friday it worked out that my siblings and I could coordinate a day together in the Inland Empire. What a treat! It had been a long time since we spent a day just by ourselves. We had a blast touring childhood haunts, family landmarks, and keeping our digital cameras busy. I was in charge of dinner that night. I wanted to make something easy that could be thrown together after we returned to Kellogg. Mom joined us for dinner and it was my first try with the following recipe. I made it in less than thirty minutes, it was very delicious, and will be even better when the peas and mint can be fresh from the garden.

Orecchiette with Leeks, Peas, and Pecorino
1 pound dry orecchiette or some other short pasta
1/4 cup fresh mint leaves, torn
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 leeks (white and light green parts only), thinly sliced
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 10-ounce package frozen peas, thawed
3/4 cup heavy cream
1 cup (4 ounces) grated Pecorino
2 teaspoons lemon zest

Cook the pasta according to the package directions. Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the leeks, season with the salt and 1/4 teaspoon of the pepper, and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft, about 7 minutes. Add the garlic and peas and cook for 2 minutes more. Stir in the cream and 3/4 cup of the Pecorino. Simmer until the sauce has thickened slightly, about 4 minutes. Drain the pasta and return it to pot. Add the sauce, lemon zest, and mint and toss. Divide the pasta among shallow bowls and sprinkle with the remaining Pecorino and pepper. Tip: Sugary and slightly crunchy, fresh peas are well worth the extra effort of shelling during the brief period in the spring when they're available. You can use 2 pounds of fresh peas (2 cups shelled) in place of the frozen ones called for in this recipe. Yield: Makes 4 servings
Note: I couldn't find orecciette or Pecorino at any stores in the Inland Empire. I used bow ties as you can see from the picture above. I think small shells would have been better. The cheese person at Huckleberries suggested another kind of Romano since Pecorino was sold out. It worked great. This recipe is in Real Simple magazine this month and nutritional information can be found on the Real Simple website.

1 comment:

  1. I really liked this dish. My only recommendation would be fewer peas. I thought it was just a tad bit pea heavy.

    I don't remember the last time the three of us did anything by ourselves. I hope we'll do it a lot more. It was really fun going out and laughing and remembering, just as us kids!

    It was this kind of fun that made it so difficult for me to come back to Eugene.


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