So today I decided to make this delicious, creamy pasta for lunch. Is it healthy?…not really (but it DOES have peas in it) Is it tasty?..oh yeah! It’s kind of like being on a rainbow while dropping spoonfuls of creamy, cheesy clouds into your mouth. The fresh sweet peas really make this dish stand out though, making every bite finish with a pop of sweetness that is perfectly balanced by the alfredo sauce. I only wish that I had invented the recipe. But alas, this one comes from the genius of Deb Perelman’s Smitten Kitchen cookbook. I have yet to be disappointed by any of her recipes. Make this as a side dish when friends come over and be prepared to receive a lot of high-fives. Or of course, just sit at your kitchen table and enjoy a serving alone so you can really relish all of the flavors. Whatever you do though, do not substitute any of the ingredients, it would just be a waste of time. Oh, and go buy this cookbook!
Sweet Peas and Shells Alfredo
1/2 pound dried small pasta shells
1 cup fresh shelled sugar-snap peas(from about 1 pound in the pod)
1 cup heavy cream
3 Tablespoons butter
Freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon freshly grated fresh lemon zest (I found that this could be left out in an emergency)
1 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese ( fresh is best)
2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat leaf parsley
Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Add the pasta, and cook according to package instructions. Add peas and cook during the last 30 seconds of pasta cooking time. Reserve a half cup of pasta cooking water, and set-aside. Drain the pasta and the peas together.
Dry out the pasta pot, and pour in the heavy cream. Bring the cream to a simmer, and cook it until slightly reduced, about 4 minutes, stirring frequently. Add the butter, and stir it until it has melted. Generously season the sauce with freshly ground black pepper; add a pinch of salt as well as the lemon zest. Add 3/4 cup of the Parmesan, and stir it until the sauce is smooth; then toss in the drained pasta and peas. Cook the pasta in sauce for two minutes, until the sauce has slightly thickened. Add the reserved pasta water by the spoonful if needed to loosen the sauce.
Divide the pasta among the bowls. Garnish with the remaining Parmesan and the flat leaf parsley.