Pasta with Three Peas

Pea tendrils taste like a cross between peas and spinach and are used in Chinese cooking, where they are called dau miu. Find them at farmers’ markets and Asian markets. Spinach or watercress can be substituted for pea tendrils in this lovely green dish.

  • 12 ounces orecchiette (little ear-shaped pasta)
  • 8 ounces bacon, chopped
  • 8 shallots, trimmed, quartered
  • 2 cups sugar snap peas (about 8 ounces)
  • 4 cups (4 1/2 ounces) pea tendrils
  • 1 cup frozen petite peas, thawed
  • 1/3 cup thinly sliced fresh mint
  • 1 cup shaved Parmesan cheese
  • Additional shaved Parmesan cheese

Cook pasta in large pot of boiling salted water until tender but still firm to bite, stirring often. Drain, reserving 1 cup cooking liquid. Transfer to large bowl.

Meanwhile, sauté bacon in heavy large skillet over high heat until crisp, about 5 minutes. Using slotted spoon, transfer bacon to paper towels. Add shallots to skillet; sauté over medium-high heat until golden brown, pressing with spoon to separate layers, about 5 minutes. Add snap peas; stir until bright green and crisp-tender, about 1 minute. Add pea tendrils and petite peas, stirring just until tendrils wilt, about 1 minute. Add pea mixture, bacon, mint, and enough cooking liquid to moisten pasta. Stir in 1 cup cheese. Serve, passing additional cheese alongside.

Makes 4 servings.

Bon Appétit, April 2005


Substitutions: If you haven’t figured it out already, I like to take great recipes and tweak them to a healthier state. I used spiral-shaped whole wheat pasta in place of the “little ears,” used turkey bacon in place of the regular bacon, and used frozen chopped spinach in place of the pea tendrils out of convenience. Onions can also be used in place of the shallots if so desired.

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