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Creamy pea pasta with lemon and garlic

Creamy pea pasta with lemon and garlic


1/2 lb (227g) pasta shape that holds a lot of sauce
1/2 cup (118mL) heavy cream
1 lemon
1 1/2 cups (200g) frozen peas
fresh herbs (I like a lot of basil and a little mint)
garlic (I like one clove per person but that’s very strong)
salt, pepper, etc
grated parm or pecorino cheese (I like a big pile per person)
panko toasted in a little butter for garnish

If you want the breadcrumb topping, start by melting a thin film of butter in your pasta pot, pour in a few pinches of panko per person, stir and cook until brown — remove and reserve. Rinse out the pot, fill it up with water for the pasta, salt the water and get it coming to a boil.

Zest the lemon and mix in the zest with the cream, along with enough lemon juice to curdle the cream and make it thick — I like the juice of half the lemon, but that’s pretty tart. A teaspoon or so of juice should thicken the cream in seconds.

Peel the garlic. Thaw the peas, cool them down with cold water to preserve their color, and drain.

If you have a food processor or some such, you can just combine the garlic, peas, cream mixture, fresh herbs, as much grated cheese as you want, salt and pepper to taste, and puree until smooth — maybe set aside a few whole peas for texture.

If you’re doing this by hand, chop the garlic and then grind it down with some coarse salt and the side of your knife. Put it in the cream. Finely chop the fresh herbs and stir those into the cream asap (the lemon juice will keep them from turning brown). Mash the peas manually (just make sure each skin is popped open) and stir them into the cream, along with as much cheese as you want and salt and pepper to taste.

Boil the pasta until al dente, and save some of the pasta water when you drain. In nothing but the residual heat of the pasta, stir in the sauce. Loosen it up with some reserved pasta water, if necessary. Serve and top with the breadcrumbs.