We have a lovely crop of late season peas at the moment - not through any careful planning on my part, but as a happy by-product of having used a heap of pea straw as mulch around our nut trees in spring. The peas got watered on odd occasions when the nuts got watered, but otherwise were left to their own devices.
The following recipe is a Jamie Oliver recipe; i should tell you now that i really like Jamie's recipes - i have yet to come across a dud. Sometimes i'll read one of his recipes and think "that's a really weird combination of ingredients", but any time i've tried one of his "weird combo" recipes i have really liked it. The official name of this recipe is 'Tagliatelle with Peas, Broad Beans, Cream and Parmesan', but i never use tagliatelle, preferring Orecchiette or shell pasta, or anything with a small cup-like form that will catch and hold the whole peas and beans. The only other changes i have made to Jamie's recipe are to replace half the cream with stock in an effort to be a little healthier; Jamie says to use double cream, but i use long-life cream, which tends to be nice and thick, and is handy to have in the cupboard, especially when you live a long way from a supermarket. He uses the amount of peas and beans stated in the recipe for twice the amount of pasta - i halve the pasta (since there are only two of us), but keep the same amount of legumes.
Usually i make this recipe in the spring, using fresh broad beans and frozen peas (any peas that i grow are never ready as early as my broad beans); this time i used beans i had frozen, and removed all the grey skins from them. This takes a bit of time, so i wouldn't recommend this recipe if you are in a hurry. However if you are using fresh young beans the skinning step is not necessary, and then this is quite a speedy dish to make.
PEA and BROAD BEAN PASTA
(Based on Jamie Oliver's recipe from 'The Naked Chef'').
150g fresh or frozen peas
150g broad beans, as fresh as you can get
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 clove garlic
100ml chicken or vegetable stock (plus extra if needed)
1 handful of mint
75g Parmesan cheese
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
200g pasta of your choice
First of all pod your peas and broad beans. If the peas are small baby ones don't bother blanching them, but if they're slightly tough, blanch them in boiling unsalted water until tender. Do the same with the broad beans, and if you think the skins on the larger beans are tough, remove them after blanching. Take half the peas and broad beans and smash, chop, or whizz in a food processor until semi-smooth.
Put the olive oil and garlic into a thick-bottomed, semi-hot pan. Cook for a few moments without colouring, then add the smashed up peas and beans. Toss them around for one minute then add the cream and stock as well as the remaining whole peas and broad beans. Stir in the mint, and allow to simmer, adding more stock if the sauce seems too dry. Add half the Parmesan and taste for seasoning.
Meanwhile cook your pasta in boiling salted water until al dente. Drain well and add to the sauce - it should just coat the pasta. Serve with the rest of the Parmesan sprinkled on top.