Spring Penne with Sugar Snap Peas and Asparagus
It’s been four years and I’m still having a hard time adjusting to the seasons in the Pacific Northwest. I’m used to strawberries starting in late January, asparagus starting in April and lasting nearly to the fall, stone fruit starting in May, and then being socked in by June gloom. But if there’s one benefit to the long, cool spring we get in the Pacific Northwest, it’s an extended window to enjoy peas. Long after the southern climes are into their tomatoes, we’re still enjoying sugar snaps, English shelling peas, and snow peas. And when those sugar snaps are fresh — they’re sweet and crunchy…and there’s nothing like ’em.
Before diving in to this recipe, taste the sugar snaps. If they’re straight from the farmers market (or a day or two later), they’ll hardly need cooking and the quick saute in the pan will do the job. If they’re from the grocery, they may be just a little starchy and need to be blanched along with the asparagus.
This simple pasta takes advantage of those lovely sugar snap peas and it’s perfect for a weeknight meal. Started with a few slices of speck (smoked prosciutto), it has the smoky saltiness of bacon in a thinner, quicker cooking slice. The vegetables take just a few minutes more than the pasta itself. It’s spring through and through. Let’s enjoy it before we give ourselves over to summer.
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