Pasta With Lettuce, Peas and Ricotta Salata 3.000

Bonnie Jo Mount/The Washington Post

Weeknight Vegetarian Jun 26, 2013

By late spring and early summer, markets are awash in lettuce and peas (finally! on the latter), and mint is threatening to take over gardens. The common-sense response in the kitchen is to cook that lettuce in the manner of the classic French side dish, quickly braising it with peas and tossing in some of that mint, but making it a meal by turning it into a pasta sauce. A French-Italian hybrid is born.

3 - 4

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Tested size: 3-4 servings

  • Kosher or sea salt
  • 8 ounces dried cavatappi, farfalle or other short pasta
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 1 small onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 head romaine lettuce (about 8 ounces), cored and cut crosswise into thin ribbons
  • 3 cups freshly shelled peas (may substitute frozen/defrosted peas)
  • 4 scallions, trimmed and cut crosswise into thin slices
  • 1/3 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
  • 1/4 cup chopped mint leaves, for garnish
  • 2 ounces ricotta salata, shaved, for garnish (optional; may substitute crumbled feta cheese)


Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over medium-high heat. Add the pasta and cook according to the package directions, leaving it slightly undercooked (just shy of al dente). Drain, reserving 1 cup of the pasta cooking water.

Meanwhile, pour the oil into a large skillet fitted with a lid, set over medium heat. Once the oil starts to shimmer, add the garlic and onion, cover and cook until tender, about 4 minutes. Stir in the lettuce, peas and scallions; cover and cook until the lettuce has fully wilted, 5 minutes. Season with salt to taste. Reduce the heat to low, keeping the vegetables warm until the pasta is ready.

Uncover the vegetables and pour the pasta into the skillet, tossing it with the vegetables. Add some of the pasta cooking water as needed to moisten the vegetables. Transfer the pasta and vegetable mixture to a large, shallow serving bowl, toss with the Parmigiano-Reggiano, then sprinkle with the mint and ricotta salata, if using. Serve immediately.

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Recipe Source

From Food editor Joe Yonan, author of "Eat Your Vegetables: Bold Recipes for the Single Cook" (Ten Speed Press, August 2013).

Tested by Joe Yonan.

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