Recipe: Lemon and Herb Pasta with Pea Tendrils

The harmony of simple ingredients in this dish is only matched by the simplicity of its preparation. Cook the pasta and combine everything, that’s it. It’s a lovely spring dish that gestures to the fresh flavors of a season to come.

You can easily substitute or add on to this recipe with ingredients you have on hand, like mushrooms or spinach, salmon or shrimp, and parsley or mint. But I find the pairing of lemon, thyme and pea tendrils to be particularly well-balanced.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 pound pasta (e.g. spaghetti, linguine, farfalle)
  • 1/3 cup oil or melted butter
  • 1-2 cloves garlic, finely minced or crushed
  • Juice of one lemon (about 1/4 cup)
  • Lemon zest
  • 2-3 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves
  • 1-2 Tablespoon fresh marjoram leaves
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 bunch fresh pea tendrils, chopped into bite sized pieces
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Bring a pot of water to boil for the pasta.
  2. Meanwhile, pulse the herbs in a food processor until finely chopped, but not a paste.
    1. PRO TIP: Stripping herb leaves from their stems can feel tedious. Woody stems should always be removed, but tender stems are more forgiving, especially in this dish, where the herbs are finely chopped. I like to pinch the tip of a stem with one hand and strip the the leaves with my other hand. If the tip breaks off, then its tender enough to enjoy the whole thing.
  3. Cook the pasta to your liking.
  4. Meanwhile, mix together the oil, garlic, lemon juice and zest, herbs, salt and pea tendrils in a large bowl (this can be your serving bowl).
  5. When the pasta is to your liking, drain and add to the serving bowl. Mix well until evenly coated. The heat from the cooked pasta will soften the pea tendrils just enough without over-cooking them.
  6. Salt and pepper to taste. Serve with parmesan.

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