Spring Pea and Garden Herb Fettuccine
Late spring is my favorite time of year in the garden. Everything is young and green, and excitement is so high to see how the plants progress. It’s around this time I first start noticing the need to prune any herbs that are growing. Pruning early and often help your herbs grow to be bushier and produce more foliage. Plus, it gives you a great excuse to make this spring pea and herb pasta.
I’m not boldly saying this is the best pasta dish I’ve ever made. But I’m also not, not boldly saying this is the best pasta dish I’ve ever made. It’s up there.
The noodles and the sauce are both simple, paving the way for the bright and springy herbs to take center stage. Mint, dill, and basil are the must haves in this dish, so don’t even think about making this without them. However, if you can find it or grow it, lemon thyme really took this over the top.
You could try hunting down lemon thyme at your local farmers’ market or specialty grocery store. If you’re not able to find it, you can easily use regular thyme plus extra lemon zest in its place.
Another herb that gives this pasta dish a great kick? Borage! Unless you’re growing it in your own garden, you probably won’t be able to find borage sold commercially.
Both the leaves and the flowers of the borage plant are edible and have a fresh flavor slightly reminiscent of cucumber. If you have a garden, this plant is great for attracting pollinators. The bright blue flowers give a wonderful pop of color as well.
So now that we have all the herbs covered, it’s time to talk pasta. I used fresh fettuccine, but it’s by no means necessary. If you’re using dry pasta, just try to seek out a good artisan brand. I prefer the sturdiness of fettuccine or tagliatelle, but you could also use spaghetti or linguine no problem.
The success of this recipe all depends on your mise en place. This just means have all your ingredients prepped, portioned, and ready to go. The total cook time is only around 10 minutes, so things move fast. Prep everything beforehand, and you’ll be good to go.
What you’ll need:
- 8 oz washed and cleaned English peas, blanched
- ½ yellow onion, diced
- 2-3 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
- Zest and juice of 1 lemon, divided
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 4 tbsp butter, divided
- 1 lb fettuccine or tagliatelle
- 2 tbsp kosher salt
- 1 cup pasta water
- 6 oz grated parmesan cheese
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 3 tbsp fresh chopped herbs – basil, dill, mint, thyme
- 7-8 borage flowers (if available)
- 8 oz burrata or fresh mozzarella cheese
- Pinch of sea salt
Start by blanching your peas and after complete set aside in a bowl for later use. Bring a large pot of water to a boil.
In a large sauté pan heat olive oil and 1 tbsp butter over medium heat. This is the pan you’ll ultimately be serving the pasta in, so make sure it’s sufficiently large.
Add onions to the pan and sauté 5-7 minutes or until translucent. Add garlic and sauté an additional 30 seconds. Remove from heat and add juice of ½ lemon. Stir, cover, and let sit.
Next move on to the rest of the mise en place. Chop herbs, grate parmesan, and place the remaining ingredients within arm’s reach next to the stovetop.
By now the pot of water should be boiling. Add two tablespoons salt to the boiling water (not a typo, add that much!), and once it returns to a boil add the pasta.
If using dry pasta**, consult the package instructions for how long to cook. Subtract 2 minutes from package instructions cook time, and it’s at that point you’ll transfer your pasta from the pot to the sauté pan to finish cooking.
Ex: Your package instructions say to cook the pasta 9-11 minutes for al dente. At 7 minutes in, you’ll transfer the pasta from the pot to the sauté pan.
If using fresh pasta**, cook for 2-3 minutes before transferring from the pot to the sauté pan.
While the pasta is boiling, you’ll start to build your sauce. Add 1 tbsp butter to the onions & garlic and heat over medium. Right before you transfer the pasta from the pot to the sauté pan, ladle 1/2 cup of the pasta water to the pan and stir to combine.
Next, add the pasta to the sauté pan, making sure to reserve some cooking water. Stir to coat the pasta with the sauce. Add the last 2 tbsp butter, another 1/2 cup pasta water, and the juice of half a lemon to the pan. Stir to incorporate.
Remove the pasta from heat. Slowly add parmesan cheese, stirring as you add to fully incorporate the cheese into the sauce. Give the sauce a quick taste and add salt, parmesan, more pasta water or additional butter as needed.
Once the sauce is seasoned to your liking, stir in the herbs, peas, and fresh cracked black pepper. Tear fresh burrata to top the pasta. Garnish with lemon zest, a sprinkling of herbs, and sea salt. Serve immediately.
The burrata sprinkled with the herbs, lemon zest, and sea salt take this dish over the top. Make sure everyone gets a hunk to swirl into their fettuccine. You’ll be reaching for this recipe all summer long!
- • 8 oz washed and cleaned English peas, blanched
- • ½ yellow onion, diced
- • 2-3 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
- • Zest and juice of 1 lemon, divided
- • 1 tbsp olive oil
- • 4 tbsp butter, divided
- • 1 lb fettuccine or tagliatelle
- • 2 tbsp kosher salt
- • 1 cup pasta water
- • 6 oz grated parmesan cheese
- • Salt and pepper to taste
- • 3 tbsp fresh chopped herbs – basil, dill, mint, thyme
- • 7-8 borage flowers (if available)
- • 8 oz burrata or fresh mozzarella cheese
- • Pinch of sea salt
- Blanch peas and set aside for later use
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat
- In a large sauté pan heat olive oil and 1 tbsp butter over medium heat
- Add onions to the pan and sauté 5-7 minutes or until translucent.
- Add garlic and sauté an additional 30 seconds.
- Remove from heat and add juice of ½ lemon. Stir, cover, and let sit.
- Chop herbs, grate parmesan, and place the remaining ingredients within arm’s reach next to the stovetop.
- Add tbsp salt to the pot of boiling water
- Add pasta and cook 2-3 minutes if using fresh pasta. If using dry, cook two minutes shorter than the package instructions.
- While the pasta is boiling, build your sauce by adding 2 tbsp butter to the onions and garlic and heating over medium.
- Right before you transfer the pasta from the pot to the sauté pan, ladle ½ cup of the pasta water to the pan and stir to combine.
- Add the pasta to the sauté pan and stir to coat with the sauce
- Add the last 2 tbsp butter, another ½ cup pasta water, and the juice of half a lemon to the pan. Stir to incorporate.
- Remove the pasta from heat. Slowly add parmesan cheese, stirring as you add
- Finally, stir in herbs, peas, and pepper
- Tear fresh burrata and place on top of the pasta
- Garnish with lemon zest, any remaining herbs, and sea salt