What's in season: Sugar snap peas, a cross between the English pea and the snow pea developed by a plant breeder named Calvin Lamborn in the 1970s, are also referred to as just "sugar peas." With a bright but delicate flavor and great crunch, the sweet, plump peas are a cook's dream: You can eat the peas, pod and all, without having to shuck them. You can find the peas now through the start of the hot summer, around June, weather depending.
What's on the horizon: Green garlic is just hitting the stands.
What to cook: Very little, if anything, needs to be done to sugar snap peas. Coarsely chop the pods or serve them whole in salads, or cook the vegetables just briefly to retain their crunch and bring out their vibrant color. You can add them at the last minute to a vegetable soup, or quickly sauté the pods if you don't want to eat them raw.
SPRING VEGETABLES IN PARMESAN BROTH WITH GOAT CHEESE RAVIOLI
Total time: 2 hours | Serves 6
2 cups chicken broth
2 cups water
2 cloves garlic, sliced
1 1/2 to 2 ounces rinds from Parmigiano-Reggiano
2 dozen asparagus tips
1/2 pound sugar snap peas
Goat cheese ravioli or fresh pasta squares
2 tablespoons chopped chives
1 ounce freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
1. In a soup pot, simmer the chicken broth, water, garlic, Parmesan rinds and herb trimmings until aromatic and flavorful, about 90 minutes. Strain and return to the soup pot.
2. In a wide pot, blanch the asparagus tips in plenty of rapidly boiling, generously salted water until just tender, about 3 minutes. Use a wire skimmer or slotted spoon to transfer them to an ice water bath to stop the cooking, then transfer to a bowl and set aside.
3. Cut the sugar snaps in half on a bias, then blanch them in the same way, stopping the cooking with the ice water bath and holding in a separate bowl. (The recipe can be prepared to this point up to 24 hours in advance and refrigerated until ready to use.)
4. When ready to serve, warm 6 shallow pasta bowls. Bring the Parmesan broth to a simmer, taste and correct seasoning with salt to taste.
5. Bring a large, wide pot of water to a boil. Cook the goat cheese ravioli or fresh pasta squares until the pasta is tender, 3 or 4 minutes. Divide the ravioli among the serving bowls. Warm the asparagus tips in the same pot of water and divide them among the pasta bowls. Warm the sugar snaps in the same pot of water and divide them among the pasta bowls. Sprinkle each bowl with chives and then ladle over roughly one-third cup of hot Parmesan broth. Sprinkle with a little grated Parmigiano-Reggiano and pass the remainder at the table.
Each serving, without Ravioli: Calories 41; Protein 2 grams; Carbohydrates 4 grams; Fiber 1 gram; Fat 2 grams; Saturated fat 1 gram; Cholesterol 4 mg; Sugar 2 grams; Sodium 319 mg.
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