Pasta with Creamy Pea Sauce

Over the past few weeks I’ve really been hit hard with an intense feeling of being blissfully busy. Yes, this is a good thing. Living a half-mile from my work has opened up so may doors, freeing up at least three hours of daytime that I used to spend sitting behind the wheel. I have been cramming loads of stuff into every nook of free time that I have acquired. Again, good thing. Things like being on a recreational softball team, cake commissions and simply going to a party or a post-work happy hour are at last doable. I’m living large over here people!

Most notable, though, is that I’ve been running quite a bit. I decided on a whim to sign up for a half-marathon and only give myself 2 months to train so I’ve had to adapt to a pretty intense running routine that I haven’t had since high school. It’s been hard to get back into it but I’m quickly regaining that sort of life-high that comes with regular running. There’s just something about spending the first hour of the day outside that sets everything off right. I share the morning with a lone fox perusing the remains of someone’s overgrown garden, herds of suburban deer, and corporate gentlemen making their morning bike-commute. I head out with a hazy, halfway sun and return with emerging light rays. It’s pretty great.

So what does someone with a plethora of busyness and ravenous post-run food cravings eat. Pasta, of course. More specifically, pasta drenched in a creamy, garlic-butter, green pea sauce. I’ve made a huge load if it twice in the past month and it might just become a problem because I’m still craving it. The recipe is from River Cottage Veg by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall. Coming from this book, then, it is technically supposed to be a vegetarian recipe, but honestly I add bacon to it and it’s delicious so I don’t care what anyone thinks. It’s really quite simple and relatively cheap and you can make a ton of it, divvy it up between pyrex containers, and eat it for lunch all week long. Basically all it takes is whizzing up some warm peas in a food processor with garlic butter, mascarpone, and parm and mixing it with some hot pasta, crispy bacon and a few more whole peas. That’s about all there is too it. One could say it’s easy peasy…or one could not. I’m leaving now.

Pasta with Creamy Pea Sauce
Adapted from Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s River Cottage Veg
Serves 3-4

Note: I really like using orecchiette or conchiglie pasta for this because the cup shapes make a great place for peas to get trapped. It’s like a little surprise when you bite down and get pleasant pop of a pea in your pasta.

1 lb. frozen peas
12 oz small pasta
3 Tbs. butter
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
1/3 cup mascarpone cheese
1 oz. Parmesan, grated, plus more for serving
6 strips cooked bacon
salt and pepper

Begin by frying your bacon in a large skillet. Once cooked, crumble it into large-ish pieces and set aside. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil for your pasta. While that comes to a boil, wipe out the frying pan and pour in your frozen peas. Cover with water and bring to a boil as well. Let simmer for a few minutes. Using a measuring cup, reserve ½ cup of the pea cooking water and drain the peas. Set aside.

Add your pasta to the pot of boiling water and cook according to package instructions. While the pasta cooks, use the same skillet and heat the butter over low heat. Once melted, add the garlic and cook gently for 2-3 minutes until soft, but not colored.

Combine ¾ of the warm peas, the pea cooking water, garlic butter, mascarpone, and parmesan cheese in a food processor and blend until smooth. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Once the pasta is done cooking, drain and combine immediately with the pea sauce in a large bowl. Combine with the remaining whole peas and the bacon. Serve with more parmesan, cracked black pepper, some red pepper flakes, and a drizzle of olive oil.