Friday, June 19, 2009

Easy Peasey

When fresh peas are in season, how can I not cook with them? They are sugar sweet but have a firm but creamy texture like no frozen or canned pea. And they are fun to shell, unzipping their little containers and plucking them from their pods. It's good work to share with a friend, over conversation and delicious anticipation of a good meal.

Here is a quick pasta dish featuring peas. The other ingredients are mostly staples around my house; this can be thrown together in less than an hour.

Angel Hair with Shellfish, Bacon, and Peas

1 pound angel hair pasta
8 strips bacon
1 lb shrimp, peeled and deveined
1/2 lb scallops, halved bilaterally if large
1 1/2 lb English peas
1/2 cup Parmesan, grated

Chop the bacon and fry in a large, heavy-bottomed pan until crisp. Remove the bacon to a plate lined with a paper towel to drain. Cover with another paper towel and hide from pilfering children. Bring a large pot of water to boil. Get the children to help you shell the peas, thereby distracting them from the bacon. Pour most of the bacon grease out of the pan you used to cook the bacon, and put the pan back on medium-high heat. Dry the scallops and the shrimp on paper towels; season with salt and pepper. Cook the scallops and shrimp in the hot pan, in batches. Remove to a plate and reserve. Salt the boiling water. Add the peas and cook for two minutes. Add the angel hair and cook for three minutes. Drain the pasta and peas and place in a large bowl. Add the cooked shellfish and the bacon, and sprinkle the Parmesan on top. Toss to combine, adding reserved pasta water to moisten the dish and make a little "sauce." Serve immediately; garnish with additional Parmesan if desired.

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