And this, right here, was my final meal cooked at the old place. A combination of things fresh from my garden, frozen farmer’s market items, and just a good combination of flavors. Peas, proscuitto, parmesan, egg yolk, and mint all together over a lovely pasta just makes the perfect summer meal. Also, HyVee makes pot-sized pasta, which means that you can just stick in your box of pasta and not have to worry about breaking it all over. It’s pretty fantastic.

I might be on hiatus for a while as I make the transition down to Chicago here. Hopefully it won’t be long before I’m back, but these things can’t be helped. See you all on the other side!

Fresh Mint and Pea Pasta Alla Carbonara

Ingredients

  • 1.5 plus .5 to .75 c peas, shelled, frozen or fresh (I used the ones I had in my freezer, with 1.5 c frozen, and the other .75 c thawing out while everything cooked)
  • 5 slices prosciutto
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 2 large handfuls of mint, leaves whole (I took a bunch of peppermint from the garden)
  • 1 lb thin pasta of choice (seriously, get HyVee pot sized pasta, it’s the best thing ever)
  • 2-3 egg yolks
  • 2-3 T olive oil
  • 1 T butter
  • sea salt, fresh ground pepper, and red pepper flakes to taste
  • fresh grated Parmesan (used Sartori’s)

Get your pasta water boiling in a separate pot. While that gets going, take 2 T olive oil and 1 T butter and melt it in a large pan. Once it’s melted, take 1.5 c of your peas (mine were frozen when I tossed them in) and your minced garlic, and saute them over medium heat until they’re soft, about 8 minutes. I chose to salt and pepper (including red pepper flakes) the veggies rather than the yolks, and found it worked very well. Don’t be afraid to use a heavy hand on the sea salt here, as the pasta will not be salted. Remove from heat.

Right about the time your peas finish, the pasta water should be boiling. Add in your pasta, and cook according to package instructions until al dente (usually 8 minutes). While the pasta cooks, take your prosciutto slices, tear them up, and heat 1 T of olive oil in a small pan. Take the torn prosciutto and cook it in the pan over medium high heat, until crispy. 

Once the prosciutto is fried, your pasta should be ready to go. Take a half cup of pasta water and add it to the peas, before draining and straining your pasta noodles. Combine the noodles with the peas, and add more salt, pepper, and pepper flakes after a quick taste. 

To serve, put your pasta in whatever you will be serving/storing it in, add the fresh peas and prosciutto, and toss to combine. Then, add the egg yolks and parmesan, and mint leaves, and toss to combine, until the pasta is coated. And then, enjoy the amazingness!

Here’s a nice summer trick for you. Go down to your local farmers market. Right about now, there will be at least one stall that is selling shelled peas. Buy several pounds worth, and take them back home. Snack on at least a good chunk of them. And then? Take the rest, put them in a freezer safe bag, and toss them in the freezer. Congratulations. You now have frozen peas, and if you stock this right, you shouldn’t need to buy any for… call it at least a good few years. (I’ve got three pounds in the freezer after this recipe, all from last year or the year before.)

And since I’m growing mint this year, this is a ridiculously cheap recipe. All of this was either in the freezer, in the garden, or in the pantry. And the lemon and mint do amazing things to the peas. Try this, you won’t regret it.

Minty Pea Salad
Lasts two meals as a side

Ingredients

  • 1 lb frozen peas (2 c)
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • (original recipe recommends shallot, I skipped it)
  • juice of 1 lemon (about .25 c tops)
  • 2 T olive oil
  • dash sea salt and pepper (freshly cracked pepper if you can get it)
  • 3-4 sprigs fresh mint (I used peppermint from the garden)

Take your peas, rinse them with cool water to speed the thawing process, and let them rest in a dish to thaw. (This should take no more than a half hour. Drain off the extra moisture at the end. Pics 1 and 2 show the difference between beginning and end of thawing.)

While your peas thaw, whisk together your lemon juice, olive oil, and salt and pepper. Zest a bit of the lemon into the dressing, but zest the rest into the peas towards the end of the thaw time. Take your mint, and tear it and put it into the peas. Toss together to combine. Then pour the vinaigrette over the minted zested peas and toss again to fully combine.

You can eat it right away or toss it in the fridge to let the flavors combine further; I chose the latter route. 

Feeling lazy? Looking for a tasty side dish that won’t take that long to make? Then I’ve got a dish for you!

This recipe took me fifteen minutes, tops, including the time it took to chop up the mint.  Perfect for hot summer days, and especially with all of these coming into season!  (Personally, I just got back this morning from purchasing plants and herbs for my fire escape garden, and soon enough, I’ll have my own mint to use instead of having to get it from the grocery store – the fresh stuff isn’t quite in season yet here.  Plus, with the sugar snap peas that will inevitably be coming to the market? Mmmm.)

Minted Peas
Lasts appx 6 meals as a side

Ingredients

  • 1.5 lbs peas (or, in my case, a 16 oz package frozen peas)
  • 2 T butter
  • 1 – 2 T chopped fresh mint (no real way to gauge how many leaves in a T accurately, I just bought a small pack at the grocery store and chopped all that up, will get back to you on that when my mint plant is ready to be harvested)
  • dash salt and pepper

This recipe can be done in four steps.

-Melt your butter.
-While your butter is melting, chop up your mint.
-Once the butter is melted, add your peas and cook for 2-3 mins, until just barely cooked through. Add a few more minutes if you’re using frozen peas and you haven’t thawed them.
-Once your peas are done, put them in your storage container/serving dish, add the mint, salt, and pepper, and toss.

Cheap, quick, and awesome, and especially good in the summer here.