The Canal House's Creamy Spring Pasta

April  2, 2014

If you're like us, you look to the seasons for what to cook. Get to the market, and we'll show you what to do with your haul.

Today: A lush, creamy pasta, perfect for spring's fresh peas -- or the ones in a bag in your freezer. 

Pasta with Peas and Scallions Bathed in Cream

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Each weekend I tiptoe down the street to my farmers market, so hopeful for signs of spring that I'm almost too afraid to look, the same way you might avoid reading a message from a potential love interest because you're unsure of what it might say.

Each weekend the spring vegetables, those elusive lovers, let me down.

But last week there were chives! Which feels like the herbal equivalent of: Oh my gosh, he said "hey"!! I will take what I can get, so I grabbed the wavering little bunch and paid my dollar fifty and started dreaming of all of the lush, creamy things I could sprinkle them atop.

Scrambled eggs were a good start, but you already know how to make those. So we move on to this pasta.

Pasta with Peas and Scallions Bathed in Cream

There's something I like very much about making one of the first recipes in a cookbook; it's logical, clean. This recipe arrives on page seven of Canal House Cooks Everyday, and is called -- wait for it -- Pappardelle with Peas and Scallions Bathed in Cream! Your pasta has washed itself in cream. Most likely in a claw-foot tub.

It calls, generously, for frozen peas, a provision that looks kindly upon those of us who have arrived on April's doorstep with too many sweaters and not enough greens. You resuscitate them in boiling pasta water, blanching them alongside a handful of chopped scallions. 

While everything drains together, cream and butter join forces back in the pot, and become sauce. The vegetables and pasta take their bath, and you add gobs of Parmesan. You make it rain black pepper. 

Pasta with Peas and Scallions Bathed in Cream

And then -- here's the seasonal part! -- you snip a whole lot of chives and mint over top. The original recipe calls for neither, but mint swiftly pulls creamy, cheesy pasta out of one-note territory. The chives offer a glimpse of verdant hope.

I also nixed the papardelle, as it is impossible for me to transport long noodles and tiny peas into my mouth in one bite. I prefer pasta that looks like brains, which you can find here, but you could also use orecchiette, or anything else that will nimbly capture a pea in its grasp. 

Once fresh peas are here, give them free reign over this dish. Or use bits of asparagus instead, and ramps instead of scallions. I can't wait to coat mine with tarragon confetti. Mix and match the greens of spring, whenever they choose to come.

Pasta with Peas and Scallions, Bathed in Cream

Pasta with Peas and Scallions, Bathed in Cream

Serves 2 to 3, and can easily be doubled

1/2 pound pasta -- I like reginetti, orecchiette, or something that will aptly hold on to peas and cream
1/2 pound frozen or fresh peas (You could also use slices of asparagus)
3 to 4 scallions, chopped 
1 tablespoon good butter (preferably salted)
1/2 cup heavy cream
3/4 cup grated Parmesan
Lots of freshly cracked black pepper
Flaky salt, to taste
10 to 12 mint leaves, or a small handful
Snips of chives or tarragon, optional

See the full recipe (and save and print it) here.

Photos by Eric Moran

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Marian Bull

Written by: Marian Bull



Gloria U. April 9, 2014
Must say - this is beautifully written. You have an easy, elegant way with words.
Marian B. April 11, 2014
Thank you so much, Gloria!
JadeTree April 2, 2014
This article is rocking some Piglet-worthy style ;) Also: YUM.
Marian B. April 3, 2014
Thank you!!
Richard M. April 2, 2014
I mean the rennet used in making parmesan comes from calves' stomachs.
Richard M. April 2, 2014
it looks beautiful...but it's not vegetarian if you use parmesan cheese as it comes from the stomach of a calf.
Marian B. April 2, 2014
Technically it's the rennet that comes from the stomach of a calf, not the cheese -- but you can indeed find Parm made with vegetable rennet! Bel Gioso makes it: http://www.belgioioso.com/VeggieParm.htm
Richard M. April 2, 2014
OK thank you for that Marian, I'll check it out.
tamater S. April 2, 2014
Well, I'm thinking you meant 'vegan' rather than vegetarian?
Since, after all, milk, butter, and cream come from the udder of a cow. And dairy cows get spent fast and end up hamburger. Not trying to be nasty or aggressive, but just sayin' is all...
Richard M. April 11, 2014
Hello Tamater, no that's fine, but I think that as the calf has to be killed to get the rennet from it's stomach that no, it's not suitable for vegetarians. No offense taken or meant. Best wishes!
Catherine L. April 2, 2014
I laughed about 8 times while reading this post. This pasta makes me happy.
Marian B. April 2, 2014
Pasta is a very happy dish indeed. I'm so glad you enjoyed!
Alanna April 2, 2014
Thanks for the beautiful and entertaining read! The pasta sounds divine, and I feel you about the chives - totally the equivalent of "he said hey!!"
Marian B. April 2, 2014
Glad somebody feels my pain/anguish.
Scott K. April 2, 2014
Looks like a wonderful recipe! Great fit for our Reginetti! - http://food52.com/provisions/products/135-sfoglini-organic-reginetti-2-bags
Marian B. April 2, 2014
Reginetti is truly perfect for this.
stephanie L. April 2, 2014
I love everything about this recipe, especially where you make it rain black pepper :)
Marian B. April 2, 2014