Honest Fare

Pretty Provisions and Notes from the Kitchen

Fresh Mint & Pea Pasta Alla Carbonara

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Fresh Mint & Pea Pasta Alla Carbonara, Honest Fare by Gabrielle Arnold

It’s been a minute since my last pasta dish, but here we are with the perfect one for spring! I just love all that bright green from the fresh peas and mint. And trust me, for a pasta dish, it’s every bit as refreshing as it looks.

All that healthy mint does the trick!

I worked on this recipe with Andy (chef friend and biz partner on the La Empanada Food Truck .) one beautiful Friday evening. We followed it up with a nice dessert of dark chocolate and red wine, and I’m going to go ahead and recommend you do the same! (Today happens to be Friday too, so go for it!)

This dish merges the always-lovely combo of peas and mint with another classic, pasta alla carbonara. Traditionally, pasta alla carbonara uses cheese, olive oil, pasta water and egg yolk to create a nice, creamy sauce that coats the pasta. Of course, you can stir it all together in the pot, but better yet is to present the egg yolk in a nest of piping hot pasta to be stirred in and cooked right there in your bowl for an even creamier version!

We decided to prep and season the egg yolks in their own little bowls so they would be closer to room temp and ready for adding on top of the pasta just before serving.

Little gems…

We wanted to go fresh peas all the way but couldn’t find large enough snap peas so the compromise was half frozen and half fresh. The frozen peas are sautéed with olive oil, garlic, salt, red pepper flakes and shallots, but the fresh peas are left raw and just stirred in at the very end. The two different pea textures – the crisp, raw snap peas with the more supple and sweet frozen ones – ended up working really nicely together.

Another little extra touch was the addition of thinly shaved smoked tuna that I brought back from Spain. It resembles cured ham a little in color, but instead has a much saltier and smokier flavor…well, and it obviously tastes like fish, not ham. It’s pretty strong so you only need a little. I know there are some specialty food shops that sell it in the states, but I’d suggest substituting with a little prosciutto or even a couple diced anchovies. Or just leave it out all together.

What I enjoy most about this dish is it’s many layers, each representing a very different flavor profile, and each complimenting the other, oh so nicely.
1. Our canvas of linguini
2. Two different kinds of peas (one soft and sweet one raw and snappy).
3. Creamy and rich egg yolk
4. Palate cleansing mint
5. Sharp pecorino romano cheese
6. Smokey cured tuna (or prosuttio or even anchovies depending on what you’re into)
7. A little heat from red pepper flakes.

Try it out and let me know what you think!

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Recipe

Prep + cook time: About 45 minutes. Serves 2-3 You can cook all the peas together if you prefer, but leaving the fresh sugar snap peas raw really adds to the texture of the dish! Feel free to substitute the smoked tuna slivers with prosciutto or just leave it out altogether.

You need:

  • 1 1/2 cup frozen English peas
  • 1/2 – 3/4 cup fresh sugar snap peas removed from shell
  • 1/4 cup diced shallot
  • 1-2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 2 big handfuls fresh mint, leaves left whole
  • 1/3 lb. linguini
  • 2-3 egg yolks depending on how many bowls you’re serving
  • 2-3 tbs. olive oil
  • 1 tbs. butter
  • Salt
  • Cracked black pepper
  • Red pepper flakes
  • Grated pecorino romano cheese
  • Shaved smoked tuna (sub with prosciutto or omit)

Directions

  1. Split open sugar snaps and remove peas from shell. Set aside. Separate yolk(s) from egg whites, place in individual bowls, sprinkle with sea salt and cracked black pepper. Set aside. Grate cheese and set aside. Slice smoked tuna or ham and set aside.
  2. Run frozen peas under water to defrost. Drain excess water. Add olive oil and pinch of butter to pan and sauté shallots, garlic and frozen peas over medium heat and partially covered until shallots are soft. Salt and pepper to taste (go a little heavier on the salt than you think cause once the pasta is added it’ll need it).
  3. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and add linguini. Cook until al dente. When pasta is done, transfer 1/2 – 1 full ladle of starchy pasta water to the pan of cooked peas. Then, using tongs, transfer half your pasta directly into that same pan. Drizzle with some olive oil, cheese and a pinch of red pepper flakes. Toss until fully incorporated. Taste and add any additional salt of needed. Add in remaining pasta using the same technique and thinning with a little more pasta water and olive oil if it’s sticking.
  4. Assembly: You’ve got to be kind of quick for this part cause you want the pasta steaming hot. Fill each bowl with a nest pasta and plenty of the cooked peas. Place prepped egg yolk in center. Sprinkle pasta with a nice helping of raw sugar snap peas, some cheese and the smoked tuna or ham if you’re using it. Mix together at table while still piping hot to cook in that egg yolk!

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22 Comments

  1. Posted May 20, 2011 at 2:52 PM | Permalink

    That looks delicious! I like the idea of tossing the eggs in at the end – sounds fun :-)

    One quick question: how many eggs does this recipe call for? I’m assuming 2-3 since that’s the number of servings, but I didn’t see eggs in the ingredient list so I thought I’d check. Thanks!

  2. Posted May 20, 2011 at 3:02 PM | Permalink

    Oh my god. This looks amazing. And that tuna! I’ve never seen anything like it. How did you get it back here? And do you have any more?

  3. Posted May 20, 2011 at 3:52 PM | Permalink

    Gabrielle, it look amazing. can’t wait to make it at home. with this massive bush of mint I have in the garden. xx

  4. Posted May 20, 2011 at 4:27 PM | Permalink

    Mint + pasta sounds super refreshing and light! I love the look of this dish; what a great springtime supper.

    (Plus, is there anything cuter in the world than a little split-open pea pod you can peek inside?)

  5. gabi
    Posted May 20, 2011 at 6:27 PM | Permalink

    Katie –
    Just put it in the ole suitcase ;)
    It comes vacuum packed so there’s no odor or any risk of spoiling. I’d live to try to recreate something like it in the food dehydrator!

  6. Posted May 20, 2011 at 6:29 PM | Permalink

    I’ve never seen smoked tuna. I’m intrigued.

  7. gabi
    Posted May 20, 2011 at 6:30 PM | Permalink

    Mary –

    You are correct, 2-3 egg yolks depending on how many bowls you’re serving. I just added it to the list of ingredients. Thanks!

  8. Posted May 21, 2011 at 1:33 AM | Permalink

    Looks absolutely delicious.

  9. Posted May 21, 2011 at 4:07 AM | Permalink

    I like so much your mint photograpy, well i liked your blog!

  10. Posted May 21, 2011 at 3:51 PM | Permalink

    I’m loving mint at the moment – and with peas? Fantastic!

  11. Posted May 21, 2011 at 9:16 PM | Permalink

    yummy! Looks divine :) peas and mint, a spring fav

  12. Posted May 21, 2011 at 10:11 PM | Permalink

    That smoked tuna looks amazing and I am sure gave this dish a whole new depth of flavor! I cannot wait for my peas to come in!

    E.A.T.

  13. Liz
    Posted May 23, 2011 at 12:06 PM | Permalink

    This looks wonderful. My boyfriend has an allergy to eggs, though, and I wondered if using a bit of cream in place of the egg would work? I am sad that I can’t do the dramatic affect of the egg on top for plating, but do you think the cream will be a good sub?

    Thanks!

  14. Posted May 23, 2011 at 2:23 PM | Permalink

    I just bought mint at the market on Saturday. I was drawn to it at 8:30AM by the refreshing ever-wakefulness of its scent. I had no idea how I was going to use it, but I knew I had to have it. After reading this blog post, I know why. Along with our farm-fresh eggs, I now have a recipe. Thank you!

  15. Posted May 23, 2011 at 5:59 PM | Permalink

    Oh that tuna looks intriguing.

    I have a question for you. I’ve been bringing back some produce from the mexican grocery here and I want to use the chayote for something, any ideas on recipes for this interesting pear shaped veggie?

  16. Posted May 24, 2011 at 12:45 PM | Permalink

    This is one of the most beautiful dishes I have ever seen! Everything looks so fresh and tasty.

  17. summer
    Posted June 7, 2011 at 11:51 AM | Permalink

    This looks so delicious! I just bought fresh peas last night and I have a ton of mint in my garden. I’m making this!

  18. Kari
    Posted June 9, 2011 at 12:36 PM | Permalink

    This was fabulous! I did end up mixing the egg in the main dish and then served the creamy deliciousness on a plate. Also, I didn’t have a photo of the finished dish at home and I wasn’t sure where to add the mint. I cooked it with the peas and in the end the leaves were a little tough. Next time I will chop it up finely and sprinkle it over the top at the very end.

    Thank so much for this fantasitc recipe! I will make it again soon.

  19. Posted June 29, 2011 at 7:01 AM | Permalink

    Looks absolutely divine, I love pasta dishes. Great photography too!

  20. Jacquie
    Posted July 22, 2011 at 4:22 PM | Permalink

    I made this last night for din din! It was a big hit :) Such a nice refreshing summer pasta dish- thanks!!

  21. Posted August 3, 2011 at 10:13 AM | Permalink

    This looks fantastic! Such a beautiful array of colors also. Must try this ASAP!

  22. Stef
    Posted January 6, 2014 at 4:04 PM | Permalink

    I just made this and it went down fantastically! My boyfriend is a coeliac so we made it with rice spaghetti and it still worked very well. Suplimented the tuna for anchovies as suggested and it add the right amount of saltiness. Plus the theatrics of adding a raw egg was brilliant. Thanks for the brilliant recipe!

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