IN SEASON: Sugar Snap Peas

sugar snap peas

Sugar snap peas (Pisum sativum var. macrocarpon) are one of the great pleasures of late spring and early summer. With plump sweet peas and edible pods (particularly when they are young), they are completely edible (in fact a couple of weeks ago we were even eating some of the shoots in salad and stir frys).

They are fairly easy to grow; your kids can stick the seeds straight in the ground in very early spring and in just a few days they will show some satisfying shoots. Many varieties grow low and don’t even need poles to climb. You can eat them off the vine; that happens a lot in my backyard.

But if you haven’t grown your own, fear not! Local farm stands will have them on offer for perhaps another couple of weeks. Look for bright green flexible pods encasing plump peas. If you have loads, shell them, stir-fry the pods and freeze the peas for later use.

Peas marry well with eggs, ham, potatoes, leeks, mint and, in the following recipe, spicy Spanish chorizo sausage (the hard, cured kind from Spain; not the crumbly uncured kind from Central America). For five more recipes for sugar snap peas from my blog, Hot, Cheap & Easy click here.

sugar snap peas_04_Natalia de Cuba Romero

Pasta with Chorizo and Sweet peas (serves two; double for more eaters)
8 oz dry short pasta, such as penne, farfalle or medium shells
1-2 tbs butter (reserve 2nd optional Tbs for finishing)
1 tbs minced onion
¼ cup hot, dry Spanish chorizo, peeled and chopped small
¼ – ½ cup fresh sweet peas (thawed frozen will work too)
Grated cheese to taste (Parmigiano Reggiano or Grana Padano preferred, but cheddar will work too)

While the pasta is boiling (be generous with the salt in the water), melt 1 Tbs butter at medium high. When foaming subsides, lower heat and add minced onion, stirring occasionally until tender and translucent. Add chorizo and peas and cook just until chorizo begins to release color.

When the pasta is ready, reserve ½ cup of the cooking liquid before draining.

Return the pasta to the pot, reducing heat to low and add chorizo and pea mixture. Add the reserved optional butter and allow to melt. Stir in the cheese and add the reserved pasta water as needed to make saucy. Serve with additional grated cheese if desired.

Featured image by Lisa Ghenne Ghenne