Thursday, 31 May 2012

Lemon, Parmesan and Pea Pasta

You know those nights when you don't have that much in the cupboards and you're starving? Well this was created, on one of those nights, using whatever I had handy. And it was really good. As long as you keep a packet of pasta in the cupboard (it doesn't matter which kind), a lemon and a bit of Parmesan or other hard Italian cheese in the fridge, you're away. And who doesn't usually have some peas in the freezer? I also keep a packet of chopped basil in the freezer, just for when I don't have any fresh stuff. A sprinkling of this will give the dish a lovely sweetness that pairs well with the lemon.



Lemon, Parmesan and Pea Pasta
Serves 4
Ingredients
  • 1 lemon
  • 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 100g Parmesan cheese, grated finely, plus extra to serve
  • 350g pasta
  • 2 handfuls frozen peas/petits pois
  • 2 teaspoons frozen chopped basil, or a handful of fresh basil, leaves torn

Method
  1. Bring a large pan of water to the boil, When it's hot and bubbling, add your pasta.
  2. While that's cooking, grate the rind of the lemon into a large serving bowl, and squeeze in the juice. Drizzle in the extra virgin olive oil and then grate in the cheese and the basil. Give it a quick stir, so that it becomes a zesty-smelling, grainy paste.
  3. 5 minutes before your pasta is ready, tip in the frozen peas.
  4. When your pasta is cooked, drain it and catch a mugful or so of the cooking water as you do so. Toss the hot pasta and cooked peas into the lemon mixture in the bowl and slosh in some of the cooking water as you go, so that you get a loose sauce that clings to the pasta. Taste, and season with salt and black pepper.
  5. Scatter with more grated Parmesan and serve immediately.
What's your favourite dish to cook when the cupboards are bare?