Gemelli Pasta with Shelled Peas, Lemon & Mint

Adapted from The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook, this light and lovely pasta recipe sings of spring.

Ingredients:
1 pound fresh gemelli pasta
2 cups fresh shelled peas (from about 1 lb. in the pod)
1 cup heavy cream
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
Zest of 1 lemon
1 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
4 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
4 tablespoons chopped fresh mint leaves
Sea salt and fresh ground pepper

Method:
1. Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Add the pasta, and cook according to package instructions. Add peas to cook during the last 30 seconds of pasta cooking time. Reserve ½ cup cooking water, set aside. Drain the pasta and the peas together.

2. Dry out the pasta pot, and pour in the heavy cream. Bring the cream to a simmer, and cook until slightly reduced, about 4 minutes, stirring frequently. Add the butter, and stir it until it has melted. Generously season the sauce with black pepper, add a pinch of salt as well as the lemon zest. Add ¾ cup Parmesan, and stir it until the sauce is smooth; then toss in the drained pasta & peas.

3. Cook the pasta in the sauce for 2 minutes, until the sauce has slightly thickened. Add the reserved pasta water by the spoonful if needed to loosen up the sauce. Garnish with remaining Parmesan, chopped parsley and mint and serve immediately.

Shelled Pea Salad with Balsamic Vinaigrette

This bright salad is beautifully balanced by fresh mint and Marcona almonds.

Ingredients:
2 cups freshly-shelled peas, blanched until just tender
2 cups mixed greens, such as microgreens and arugula, washed
¼ cup fresh mint leaves, chopped
¼ cup toasted Marcona almonds

For vinaigrette:
1 large garlic clove, minced
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
½ cup olive oil
Fresh ground pepper

Method:
1. In a small bowl, whisk together the vinaigrette ingredients until the oil and vinegar are emulsified. Set aside.

2. On a large serving platter, arrange the greens and the peas, tossing gently to combine. Drizzle with the vinaigrette, toss to coat and then garnish with the fresh mint and Marcona almonds. Season to taste with additional fresh ground pepper, as desired.

Chilled Pea Soup

Cooking the peas briefly retains their vibrant color, while the addition of fresh herbs keeps the finished soup tasting bright.

Ingredients:
4 cups chicken or vegetable broth, divided
6 cups shelled fresh peas
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 sweet onion, chopped
¼ cup fresh Italian parsley leaves
¼ cup fresh mint leaves
¼ cup crème fraîche or sour cream
2 tablespoons heavy cream or water
Sea salt and fresh ground pepper
Chopped fresh chives (for serving)

Method:
1. Melt butter in a large heavy pot over medium heat. Add onion and cook, stirring often, until softened but not browned, 6-8 minutes. Add 2 cups broth and bring to a boil. Add peas, reduce heat, and simmer gently until tender, about 5 minutes.

2. Remove pot from heat. Add parsley, mint, and remaining 2 cups broth to pot. Purée soup in a blender or with an immersion blender, thinning with water if soup is too thick, until smooth. Season soup with salt and pepper. Chill until ready to serve.

3. Whisk crème fraîche and cream in a small bowl to blend. Serve chilled soup topped with chives, passing crème fraîche mixture alongside for spooning over.

Fresh Fourth Recipes

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Fire up the grill and gather family and friends round this week for a flavorful Fourth of July spread highlighted by crisp, cool summer salads. With produce ranging from sweet red peppers and rainbow cherry tomatoes to fresh fennel and juicy blueberries, this heat-beating menu also features housemade chevre and crème fraîche, a refreshing white wine from France and a light and moist lemon olive oil cake kissed with polenta. Shake up a summery cocktail, sit back and enjoy your Independence Day!

Here are a few recipes ideas for the week:

Lavender-Infused Lemonade
This cool beverage will be a hit with your guests.

Mint & Citrus White Wine Sangria
Sweetened with anise hyssop simple syrup, this citrus-kissed beverage is incredibly refreshing!

Fresh Herb Rub
This versatile rub is delicious on steak, chicken, fish even veggies!

Grilled Bread
These smoky charred slices are an excellent base for bruschetta, fresh cheese, or any other topping you can dream up.

Cherry Tomato Salsa with Fresh Herbs
A pico de gallo-style salsa bright in flavor and combined with lime, cilantro and mint.

Beet Salad with Fresh Chevre & Shaved Fennel
Tossed with a blood orange vinaigrette, this showpiece salad boasts beautiful color.

Escarole Salad with Radish & Spring Onion
This salad is packed with bold flavor, drizzled with a Parmesan-Dijon dressing.

Rosemary Roasted Potatoes
Easy to prepare ahead, these fragrant potatoes are excellent served at room temperature.

Lemon Olive Oil Cake
This simple, rustic cake has a slightly-crunchy texture courtesy of polenta and is beautifully flavored by olive oil.

this week's recipes
the delights of spring

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hi, april

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