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Lemon Pasta with Peas Recipe


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     Lemon Pasta with Peas

Category   Breakfast - Brunch
Sub Category   None
Servings   4

1/2 pound (or 8 ounces) small pasta like orecchiette, shells, or mini penne
3/4 cup frozen peas
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 medium cloves garlic, finely chopped (about 2 teaspoons)
Pinch - teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, depending on taste
1 large lemon, zested and juiced (approx. 1 tablespoon zest and 2 tablespoons juice)
1 cup pasta water
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 1/2 cups grated Parmesan cheese, divided
Small handful of parsley, chopped (about 1/4 cup chopped)
1/4 cup ham (if using)

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and add the pasta. Cook about one minute less than package directions state until al dente. When one minute is left in the cooking time, add the frozen peas. While the pasta is boiling, heat a large deep skillet over low heat and add the olive oil, garlic, and crushed red pepper flakes. Cook, stirring frequently, for about five minutes until garlic is tender.
To the garlic, add 1 cup of the water the pasta is boiling in, along with the lemon juice and the heavy cream. Increase the heat to medium and bring to a boil, stirring frequently, until the sauce thickens just a bit, about 5 minutes. Stir in the the lemon zest and 1 cup of the grated Parmesan cheese. Add a generous pinch of salt and pepper. Taste and add additional salt if necessary (if the sauce tastes too lemony, add a little more salt until the tartness mellows.)
If adding ham, place an additional skillet on the stove and heat the diced ham over low heat, stirring frequently. Drain the pasta and peas and and add it to the main skillet with the sauce. Remove the skillet from the heat and gently toss the pasta with the sauce until the pasta soaks in some of the sauce, about two minutes.
Scoop each portion into the sauce pan and mix gently.

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