Springtime’s Favorite Trio

When it comes to eating seasonally here are ingredients, smells, and combinations of flavors the represent the very best of each season. Spring happens to be my favorite. The green re-awakening and promise of sunny days ahead as expressed by the first harvests are unlike anything else. My favorite? Peas, mint, and ricotta minlged together for a naturally sweet, aromatic, and creamy combination that leads you gently into the bounty of summer.

fregola-sarda-3Bon Appetit did the world a favor with this recipe. I will keep it brothy when I want something comforting for rainy evenings or remove the broth for another use and chill the fregola and friends into a cold salad as a side for evenings on the patio. I’ll be serving the chilled version along side all the grilled things for Father’s Day this year. It’s filling, yet fresh, and Dad deserves nothing less.

Since this recipe relies on very few ingredients, use the very best and freshest goodies you can gather. Creminelli’s pancetta crisps perfectly for a tiny bit of crunch and a healthy drizzle of Viola makes this feel extra bright and luxurious.

Bon Appetit‘s Fregola with Green Peas, Mint, and Ricotta
Serves 4 as a main dish or 6-8 as a side

  • 1¼ cups fregola sarda (substitute couscous if unavailable)
  • Kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for serving
  • 2 ounces pancetta, chopped
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 2½ cups low-sodium vegetable broth
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup shelled fresh peas (from about 1 pound pods) or frozen peas, thawed
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint, plus leaves for serving
  • 4 ounces ricotta

Cook fregola in a large pot of boiling salted water until very al dente, 6–8 minutes. Drain pasta (do not rinse), reserving 1 cup pasta cooking liquid.

Heat 2 Tbsp. oil in a large skillet over medium and cook bacon, stirring often, until bacon is brown around the edges, about 5 minutes. Add onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until bacon is crisp and onion is translucent, about 5 minutes.

Add wine, bring to a simmer, and cook until skillet is almost dry, about 5 minutes. Add broth and bring to a simmer. Add fregola and cook, stirring often, until pasta is just al dente and broth is thickened, about 5 minutes. Taste and season with salt and pepper. Add peas and chopped mint and cook, stirring, until peas are warmed through, about 2 minutes. Add pasta cooking liquid as needed to adjust consistency.

Serve topped with ricotta, mint, and cracked pepper and drizzled with condiment olive oil.


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