Now that I live in the land of the seasons again, I am dealing with things like the Pineapple Express, which comes all the way from Hawai’i to bring lots of wind and rain, keeping the skies grey and dark. So what is a girl to do other than get into the kitchen and cook up something? In my case it is more: figure out a way to make some space on the kitchen counter so I can slice mushrooms, chop parsley and generally prep. But at least the stove is available, and it is a fancy gas stove, too, made in Italy. I love being able to cook with gas again and the incredible heat control you get with that.
This is one of those recipes that just happens. I already had everything except the scallops, so I picked those up on my run to Whole Foods this morning, though I had not planned what to do with it all. It was once home that, scavenging around in the move boxes, I found my pantry stuff with a box of orecchiette pasta in it. Et voilá! The snow peas were an afterthought, but I like the punch of color they bring to an otherwise tasty, but very beige dish.
ORECCHIETTE PASTA WITH MUSHROOMS, SEARED SCALLOPS & SNOW PEAS
yields 4 portions
– 320 gr (11.2 oz.) orecchiette pasta
– 380 gr. (13 oz.) fresh mushrooms, rinsed and sliced – my mushrooms of choice would be porcini, but… so I defaulted to Hamakua mushrooms; you can use whichever mushrooms you like or have available in your area
– 40-45 baby scallops (ca 10 per portion), or if you don’t find the small ones fresh, you can use the big ones and cut them into smaller pieces, the aim is to match the size of the orecchiette
– 120 gr (4.2 oz.) snow peas, if large you can cut them in half at a slant
– a good handful of coarse sea salt for the pasta water
– 3 garlic cloves, peeled, halved, core removed
– freshly chopped parsley
– extra-virgin olive oil
– sea salt
– freshly cracked black pepper
1. Bring the water for cooking the pasta to a boil in a medium-large pot, add a good handful of coarse sea salt. When the water boils, add the orecchiette, stir and let cook until al dente. Orecchiette take about 10′ or so to cook.
2. In the meantime, heat 2 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil with two garlic cloves in a large sauté pan, add the mushrooms, season with salt and pepper, bring the heat down to medium and let cook covered for 2-3 minutes. Remove the lid and flip the mushrooms a couple of times to stir well, then let cook until translucent and golden and the juices have all evaporated. Adjust the salt if needed. Set aside.
3. In another, smaller, sauté pan heat 1 Tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil with the remaining garlic clove, add the snow peas, season with salt and pepper, flip a couple of times, let cook and color for about 1 to 2 minutes, depending how thick they are, then add them to the pan with the mushrooms.
4. In this same small pan, add another Tablespoon of extra-virgin olive oil, bring the heat on high and add the scallops, cooking them on high until seared and nicely colored. You can season with pepper if you like, but I doubt they will need salt. Once the juices have dried up and the scallops are nicely colored, add them to the pan with the mushrooms, and give that a flip or two, or stir everything with a wooden spoon.
Place this pan on the stove on low heat to keep warm until the pasta is ready, which might well be by now.
Steps 2-4 can all be done while the whole of step 3 is happening.
5. When the orecchiette are al dente (to your taste), strain them through a colander, shaking out the excess water, then add to the pan with the mushrooms, scallops and snow peas, and turn the heat up for a minute. Drizzle some fresh extra-virgin olive oil and stir/flip. Sprinkle with a couple of Tablespoons of freshly chopped parsley and serve.
And if you like a vegetarian version that is also very tasty: skip the scallops and add some shaved Parmigiano or Pecorino before serving. For vegans, well, you skip the cheese as well, but it will still be tasty. Dry pasta does not contain eggs. It is only fresh egg pastas like tagliatelle, ravioli, lasagne and pappardelle that do. At least that is the way things are done in Italy.
Other light and easy springtime recipes you will enjoy: