Pea and Orecchiette Spring Salad with Perlini and Mint

May  1, 2015
3 Ratings
Photo by James Ransom
  • Serves 2 to 4
Author Notes

This salad has the flavors of ramps, peas, and fresh mozzarella, along with the brightness of mint. It's also a great picnic option as it's mayonnaise-free. —Kat Suletzki

Test Kitchen Notes

WHO: Kat Suletzki lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts and eats everything—except for veal.
WHAT: A fresh take on pasta salad, made sunnier with mint and ramps.
HOW: Toss blanched peas and pea pods with cooled orecchiette pasta dressed in vinegar with minced ramps. Finish with mint, spinach, scallions, and mozzarella, and serve.
WHY WE LOVE IT: This recipe is the perfect springtime dinner base—serve it with seafood (our recipe tester added scallops!) or a spring chicken recipe—wine too!—and you have all the makings for a perfect summer evening. —The Editors

What You'll Need
  • 2 cups shucked baby peas (or frozen peas, if necessary)
  • 2 cups snow pea pods
  • 2 cups orecchiette pasta
  • 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 3 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar, divided
  • 1 tablespoon minced wild garlic (ramps) or 1 garlic clove, finely minced
  • 1 cup perlini mozzarella (alternatively, fresh mozzarella diced)
  • 1 cup baby spinach (optional)
  • 2 scallions, thinly sliced (white and light green parts)
  • 2 tablespoons fresh mint, minced
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  1. Prepare a large bowl of ice water and set a colander in it. Bring a large pot of generously salted water to a boil. Add peas and pea pods and boil until just tender (about 60 to 90 seconds). Using a slotted spoon, transfer the peas to the ice water bath to shock the vegetables and keep them from cooking—this keeps them fresh and green. Add the pasta to the boiling water and cook until tender but al dente, about 10 minutes (see package instructions; this may vary). Drain the pasta (do not rinse) and place it in a large mixing bowl. Remove the colander of peas and pea pods from the water and set aside, lest they get waterlogged.
  2. Add 2 tablespoons of the olive oil, 1 tablespoon of the vinegar, and the minced ramps or garlic clove to the bowl of warm pasta and stir to combine. Let the pasta stand until it cools to room temperature.
  3. Add the peas, mozzarella, spinach (if using) scallions, and mint to the pasta. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil and 2 tablespoons of vinegar and season with salt and pepper to taste. Mix well. Serve at room temperature.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • marc510
  • JulieS
  • Kat Suletzki
    Kat Suletzki
  • suemical

5 Reviews

suemical April 3, 2024
Major hit at Easter! wanted a light side dish and the inclusion of mint made it fresh and spring like! I substitued a TB of fresh pesto since I didn't have white balsemic vinegar on hand.
marc510 April 27, 2016
The salad looks great and I hope to try it this spring when peas and snow peas are at peak quality.

A question about orecchiette: do you have trouble with the ears sticking together when they cook? Have you ever run across a solution? I tend to get blobs of 2 or 3 ears that don't cook properly.
JulieS May 19, 2015
Just to follow up, I'd like to share this story. This morning there was some very load yelling between both of my teenage girls, getting ready for school. When I went in to see what all the fuss was all about, they were fighting over who got to take the leftovers of this pasta salad for lunch. I've since been instructed to make double next time. :)
Kat S. May 19, 2015
OK, that made my day. :) I've never had anyone argue over who gets the last bit of one of my recipes before.
JulieS May 18, 2015
A perfect spring dish! Bright, fresh flavors that are a perfect marriage. My 13 year old has declared that I make this for her school lunch all the time and to put it into our "really good meals" rotation. My only changes were that I had to use GF pasta due to an allergy in my family, sugar snap peas, because Whole Foods didn't have snow peas and to not cook the frozen peas, just throw them in and let them defrost. Crisp and perfect!