This is light, lemony pasta dish can be bumped up with sauteed shrimp or toasted pine nuts. It can be made vegan by omitting the cheese. It’s also a great sidekick for a piece of grilled fish or chicken.
Rustic and easy, this no-fuss pasta is what I love so much about simple Italian cooking. There’s not much cooking involved, except boiling the water for the pasta.
The complexity of this dish comes from the tangles of pillow-soft pasta, the bright pop of the peas and the vitality of the fresh herbs. Each bite lifts you with tangy-lemony-flavors and salty-feta-goodness. Mint and dill pair well with the feta for a classic Greek/Eastern Mediterranean combination. You could easily swap them out for your favorite fresh herbs. You’ll know that summertime is here with this light and perky pasta recipe.
Lemon Herb Pasta with Peas and Feta Recipe
Sometimes, instead of chopping the herbs, I use a pair of kitchen scissors to cut them directly into a bowl and then toss everything together.
Don’t be shy with the herbs, use a good size bunch of each one. If your garden is bursting with herbs, here’s a great place to use them.
I prefer cow’s milk feta to sheep’s milk. Use your favorite kind. Omit the cheese for a vegan recipe.
The peas are cooked along with the pasta for ease of preparation. Keep them bright green by putting them into the water once the pasta is almost done. They take seconds to cook.
I buy my fresh pasta from a wonderful, local Italian market. Regular dried pasta works too.
- 1 pound fresh pasta. I used fresh angel hair. But, dried angel hair pasta, thin spaghetti, small shells or orzo are good choices too.
- 1 generous cup of frozen peas
- Generous handfuls of mint, dill and parsley, chopped
- 3-4 large scallions, diced
- Zest and juice of one large lemon
- 4 ounces of crumbled feta.
- Sea salt and freshly cracked pepper
- Olive oil for cooking
- To Serve: toasted pine nuts, lemon wedges, sprinkle of flaky sea salt such as fleur de sel
Cook the pasta according to the package directions. Be careful to not overcook fresh pasta as it gets mushy and very sticky quickly. It takes mere minutes to cook. Add the peas to the pasta water toward the end of cooking. The peas should take seconds to cook and stay bright green. You want the peas to have a pop and a fresh, grassy flavor.
Meanwhile, use kitchen scissors or a knife to chop the fresh herbs and scallions, putting them into a large bowl. Add the zest of one lemon, a little salt and pepper and a drizzle of olive oil to the herbs. When the pasta and peas are done, put them in the bowl with the herbs and scallions. Drizzle more olive oil over the top, add the juice of one lemon and the crumbled feta cheese and pepper to taste. Toss everything together. Alternatively, you can save the feta to sprinkle on each individual serving, which is the way I like it. Serve hot, warm or at room temperature with some flaky sea salt and toasted pine nuts if you please. Enjoy!