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PEA PASTA!

Fresh peas are in season from June until August and you’ll most likely find them in farmers’ markets or larger supermarkets.

The season for garden peas lasts from spring through the beginning of winter. Not only are they delicious, but green peas also provide nutrients that are important for maintaining bone health, such as vitamin K. They also contain magnesium; vitamins C, A, B1, B3, B6, and B2; iron; zinc; folate; and copper.

When buying fresh garden peas, look for ones with pods that are firm and smooth and have a beautiful medium-green color. It’s best to use fresh peas the day you buy them, but if you can’t, then refrigerate them as quickly as possible in order to preserve their sugar content.

Don’t wash them or take them out of their pods if storing; instead, place them in an unsealed container, and they will keep for four to five days. 

INGREDIENTS 

4-6 serving

  • 2 cups fresh  peas
  • 3 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil)
  • 2 Tbsp. finely chopped shallot
  • 8 ounces fresh spaghetti or linguine pasta. You can use dry but it comes out better if you use FRESH!
  • 1 cup low-fat milk, chill taken off
  • 2 cups freshly grated Parmesan cheese, plus additional for sprinkling
  • 30 small fresh mint leaves for garnish

INSTRUCTIONS
To prepare the fresh peas, remove the peas from their pods, and set aside. 

In a  large heavy skillet, on medium heat pour the olive oil and swirl to cover the bottom of the pan.

Add the shallots to the pan, and sauté until crispy. 

Cook the pasta according to package directions (remember to salt the pasta water—
1 tablespoon of table salt per 3 quarts of water.) Three minutes before the pasta is ready, add the peas. Before you drain the pasta and peas, remove 3 cups of the pasta water and set aside.

Drain the pasta, giving it one or two shakes. Pour the pasta into the pan with the shallots. Over high heat, add 1/2 cup milk, and 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, 1/3 cup pasta water,  mix gently but thoroughly.

Add the remainder of the milk and Parmesan cheese, and mix thoroughly. This should thicken the sauce beautifully! If it looks too thick or gooey, add more pasta water, 1/4 cup at a time, to maintain a creamy consistency.

Top with more grated Parmesan cheese, and garnish with 4 to 5 mint leaves per serving.

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