Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Fettuccine Alfredo with Spring Onions and Peas

I have nothing serious for you today. No deep brooding thoughts or questions. What I do have is a quality lightweight fettuccine and a link to a vegetarian gossip page. I kid you not. I was reading up on some press about a new cookbook I just got (Multo Gusto by Mario Batali, if you must know), and this page came up: not the Star (the celebrity trash paper), but the Vegetarian Star. I was amused. Maybe you will be too. They feature all of your favorite vegetarian and vegan celebrities' favorite recipes for meatless Monday, along with all of the latest veggie celeb gossip. Can't say I've tried the or ever really looked around to know what vegan is having a birthday, but now I guess I know where to go if I feel so inclined. Here's to your amusement: Vegetarian Star
And on the noodley front is a super adaptable and easy pasta that is perfect for the peas that are happening right now. If you haven't had freshly shelled peas before you are in for a tasty treat. Not only do they have the bright, fresh flavor you would expect from they unfrozen variety, they have texture. Gloriously toothsome. You bite down and they pop as you chew. They are firm and fresh, unlike the off-season stuff I buy in the freezer case. And so good you might just eat them raw.
Add in some fresh young onions and the effect is really lightening to a once heavy dish. Fettuccine has always been a meatless dish our whole family has adored, but sometimes it just feels as heavy as the cream in it. Don't think I don't like that, I do. It is lovely noddle luxury, like velvet on the tongue. Too much and it's like lead in the stomach and a dose of Unisom. So, when I want my meals to feel lighter, especially in the spring and summer months this is the recipe. With the help some ricotta cheese it is not nearly as dense as the original. And then add some vegetables and this is the sort of thing my mom would love. She loves to put peas in most everything. And then eats it joyfully constantly remarking how colorful and tasty her food is because of it. Make my mom proud and make some tonight. 
Fettuccine Alfredo
Serves 4
1 cup shelled fresh peas
½ tbsp. butter
4 small spring onions or 6 scallions, white and pale green part only, sliced
1 cup part-skim ricotta cheese
½ cup Pecorino Romano cheese
¼ cup basil leaves, thinly sliced
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 pound fresh fettuccine or ¾ pound dried
Fill a small saucepan about half way full of water and bring to a boil.  Add a large pinch of salt and then add the peas.  Cook for 1 minute, then immediately drain and rinse with cold water.  Place peas in a large bowl.
Heat the same small saucepan over medium heat and add the butter.  Once the butter has melted, add the spring onions and a pinch of salt.  Sauté, stirring often, until softened, about 4 minutes.  Do not allow to brown.  Add the spring onions to the bowl with the peas.  Add the two cheeses and the basil to bowl as well.
Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to boil and toss in a couple of tablespoons of salt.  Carefully add the pasta and cook until al dente.  Using tongs, scoop the pasta directly into the bowl with the vegetables and cheeses.  Ladle out about ¾ of a cup of cooking water and toss the pasta together until the cheeses have melted and created a sauce.  You may need more water if it seems too dry.  Toss well to incorporate everything together and serve hot.


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