The theme of last week’s cooking seemed to be spring pastas. Two of my current favorite cookbooks are organized by season, so it’s nice to flip to Spring or the month of June to see what works best with the fresh ingredients available at the market. This is a recipe I found in the cookbook Cook this Now, by New York Times food columnist, Melissa Clark.
The dish highlights garlic scapes and sugar snap peas, which are both in abundance at the farmers’ market this time of year. I made a few small changes to the recipe—most notably adding prosciutto and leaving out the ricotta cheese. I also cut the peas a little differently than the recipe suggested—lengthwise, right down the middle—which looked nice, but probably not the best choice for the cavatelli pasta (I’ve heard all of the components of your pasta dish should be the same size—so in this case, the full size peas probably overwhelmed the cavatelli). Next time I’d cut the peas into smaller pieces or choose a different type of pasta. Definitely a great dish with loads of spring flavor.
Pasta With Garlic Scape Pesto, Prosciutto, and Sugar Snap Peas (slightly adapted from the cookbook, Cook This Now; serves 4)
1/4 cup pine nuts
3/4 cup cilantro or basil leaves
1/2 cup thinly sliced garlic scapes
1/4 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 pound cavatelli pasta
1 tablespoon butter
1/4 pound sugar snap peas, trimmed and sliced 1/4 inch thick
10 pieces of slivered prosciutto
Freshly ground pepper
Toast the pine nuts in a small skillet over medium heat until lightly browned. Remove from heat and cool.
In a food processor, combine the basil, garlic scapes, cheese, and salt, and process until the herbs are finely chopped. Add the nuts and oil and process until smooth. Add more salt if needed.
Bring a large pot of water to a boil and generously add salt. Add the pasta and cook until al dente.
While the pasta is cooking, melt the butter in a skillet and add the peas and a pinch of salt. Saute until they are crisp-tender, about 3 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the slivered prosciutto.
Drain the pasta and toss with just enough pesto to coat the pasta. Season with salt if needed. Top with the peas and prosciutto, sprinkle with more Parmigiano-Reggiano and plenty of black pepper.
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