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Peas with Shrimp, Basil and Penne

When your share has fresh shelling peas:

Use them quickly or freeze them.

Shelling peas make a great snack eaten raw or here are some simple suggestions.

Peas don’t have much of a shelf life, so I don’t recommend storing them —in their pods or shelled—for very long. Store pods in a plastic bag in the crisper drawer of the refrigerator and use them within a couple of days. Once they’re shelled, the best way to store peas is to freeze them. First blanch them for a minute or two in boiling salted water and then shock them in an ice-water bath until cool, to help maintain their bright color. Drain and freeze them in zip-top bags. They will keep for five to six months.

Peas—have a very sweet flavor and they take only a few minutes to cook, particularly when they’re very fresh and young, so they’re a perfect ingredient for fast weeknight dishes. In fact, the secret to maintaining their sweetness and bright-green color is to cook them as little as possible, just enough to make them tender. What’s more, peas lend themselves to almost any cooking method, from boiling and steaming to sautéing, stir-frying, and quick-braising.

Peas’ mild sweetness pairs well with many different flavors. Cured meats like bacon, pancetta, prosciutto, smoked ham, and chorizo work wonderfully with peas, as their pronounced saltiness complements the gentle flavor. Fresh mint is also a classic flavor partner, bringing peas to life in an instant. Peas will pair well other fresh spring herbs such as basil, chives, and dill. . Peas are a natural with onions, scallions, and other alliums, and they pair well with other spring vegetables like asparagus, new potatoes and carrots.

Peas with Shrimp, Basil and Penne
1-1/2 lb. shrimp (21 to 25 per lb.), peeled, deveined, and cut in half lengthwise
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil
5 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
1 Tbs. finely grated lemon zest
Kosher salt
1-1/2 cups fresh shelled peas (about 1-1/2 lb. unshelled)
3/4 lb. dried penne
Freshly ground black pepper
1/3 cup finely diced shallots
1 tsp. minced garlic
3/4 tsp. seeded and minced hot fresh chile
2 oz. arugula, trimmed, washed, and dried (about 2 lightly packed cups)

Toss the shrimp with half of the basil, 2 Tbs. of the olive oil, and the lemon zest. Cover and refrigerate for about 30 minutes.

Bring a large pot of well-salted water to a boil over high heat. Put the peas in a large metal sieve and dip them into the boiling water. Cook until just tender, 2 to 4 minutes. Lift the sieve from the water, let the peas drain, and then spread them on a baking sheet in a single layer to cool.

Add the pasta to the boiling water and cook, following the package directions, until al dente. Reserve 1/2 cup of the cooking water and drain the pasta.

Meanwhile, take the shrimp out of the fridge and season them lightly with salt and pepper. Heat the remaining 3 Tbs. oil in a 12-inch skillet over medium heat. Add the shallots, garlic, chile, and a pinch of salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until the shallots are soft and lightly browned, about 2 minutes. Add the shrimp and continue to cook, stirring, until the shrimp have turned pink and are almost cooked through, 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in the peas and remove from the heat.

Return the drained pasta to its pot and add the shrimp mixture and 2 Tbs. of the pasta water. Cook over medium heat until the shrimp are completely cooked through, about 1 minute more. Toss the arugula and the remaining basil into the pasta. Add more pasta water as necessary to keep the pasta moist and continue tossing until the arugula is wilted, about 1 minute. Season to taste with salt and pepper and serve  immediately.

Adapted from: fine Cooking

To continue with our “no waste” effort, save the pea pods and use them for stock. Or puree the pea pod stock and strain and serve.

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