The batter-blasts of a winter that refuses to melt away; a hallucination-inducing wilderness of snow-clogged clouds; the crazed clamp of stone-rigid soil around roots. These are the stubborn vestiges of winter’s lock on the earth, before the releasing hope of the spring that all creatures welcome with relief and joy.
Peas are an epitome of spring—those gentle, unassuming pods, brought forth by the fluttery delight & delicacy of sweet pea blossoms. Here they are, easily tossed with pasta and dressed with a floral, marjoram-flecked crème fraiche: a light, simple way to greet spring and bring sunshine back to the kitchen.
Peas on Pappardelle with Sweet Pea Marjoram Butter
Yield: Six appetizer portions.
Equipment: blender, fine mesh strainer, 12-inch straight-sided sauté pan, pasta pan with strainer, wooden spoon, long-handled tongs, measuring cups and spoons.
For the sauce:
1 cup blanched English peas—(good quality frozen peas area okay)
¼ C white wine
1 cup chicken or vegetable broth
1½ teaspoons sugar
1½ tablespoons fresh marjoram
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1½ cups minced onion
4 cups blanched English peas—(good quality frozen peas are okay)
4 cups blanched, peeled, finely sliced carrots, cut 1-inch lengths
1# fresh pappardelle
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
¼ cup butter and extra virgin olive oil
1 cup crème fraîche
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 C grated Parmesan
6 fresh marjoram sprigs
For the sauce, combine the ingredients in blender and purée to fine, tasting for seasoning. Strain through fine mesh strainer.
Heat a small sauté pan. Add olive oil and sauté till light golden and translucent. Add carrots and peas.
Heat a large pot of salted, oiled water. Add pappardelle, separating strips to prevent sticking. Cook at a rolling boil till soft—about five minutes. Drain and return to hot pan with sauce. When well coated, add vegetables and heat through. Season and garnish with Parmesan.