Spring weather has finally arrived to the bustling student city of Uppsala. With the season comes crisp and buttery lettuces, crimson rhubarb with its long and slender celery-like stalks, gently perfumed wild garlic, vigorously growing soft-stemmed herbs, and the quintessential podded pea.
Peas are a great addition to every student kitchen. The frozen variety requires no preparation, no lengthy defrosting period before it's able to be used, no compromise of taste or texture compared to fresh produce, and each individual pea packaged in its natural form and size means that it's obscenely simple to measure out exactly how much is required to avoid cooking too much and to minimise waste. If you're able to get your hands on some fresh peas, be sure to hang onto the pods and use them for a stir fry or to flavour a stock.
Spring Pea Pasta
2 handfuls of penne pasta
2 dl peas
2 tbsp creme fraiche
a small chunk of Pecorino cheese
2 slices of parma ham, torn into small ribbons
5 or 6 small mint leaves
salt and pepper to taste
- Half fill a frying pan with water and bring it to the boil.
- Throw in the pasta and stir it around for the first few minutes to prevent it from sticking together.
- When it's nearly ready but is still a little hard in the middle, toss in the peas and let them cook.
- Drain off most of the water, leaving some to bind the sauce.
- Stir in the creme fraiche and crumble in the cheese.
- Continue cooking until the pasta is done and the sauce has thickened.
- Season to taste (I like it with lots of black pepper).
- Allow to cool for a few minutes then toss through the mint leaves and parma ham.
- Serve immediately.