Friday, June 20, 2008

Pasta with Peas, Parsley & Pumpkin Seeds

Four p's and garlic as well!

This is a really quick bright dish that is utterly perfect for midweek. It has colour and texture and flavour. Peas are sweet treats at any time and combined, as here, with the slippery pasta shells and the toasted crunch of the pumpkin seeds they really shine. The parsley and garlic need to be cooked very gently for ten minutes or so to bring out the depth of flavour - no great hardship as the smell of garlic cooking is a lovley thing. Then it is a simple matter to toss in the peas at the end.

Pasta with Peas, Parsley & Pumpkin Seeds

300g dried pasta shells
60g hulled pumpkin seeds
3 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
1 cup chopped flat leaf parsley - if you chop finely you only need to discard the really fat stalks
4 tablespoons olive oil
200g frozen peas

Cook the pasta in boiling salted water till just al dente.

In a heavy based pan, dry fry the seeds over a low heat till golden and smelling toasty. (You have to pay attention while you do this as they go from raw to black in the time it takes you to look for something in the fridge.) Set the seeds aside.

Heat the oil over a very low heat and add the garlic and parsley. Cook, stirring occasionally, for about ten minutes till very fragrant. Increase the heat to medium and add the peas and a liberal grinding of black pepper. Cook for six or seven minutes till the peas are done.

Drain the pasta, put it back into the pan and add the peas mixture and the seeds. Stir it all together and serve. Crusty bread optional.

This makes a great standby dinner really - I will almost always have pasta in the cupboard and peas in the freezer and unfailingly have oil and garlic. Usually have seeds or maybe pine nuts so at most it would require picking up a bunch of parlsey on the way home.

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