Pesto or red sauce on pasta can sometimes leave you wishing for something a bit more special. Frozen peas, while ordinary, transform into an appealing sauce when pureed with cream. Add some whole peas, and toss with toasted hazelnuts, and this angel hair will have a pretty color, unusual texture, and the extra element you might be looking for.
|2||cups hazelnuts, coarsely chopped|
|2||shallots, finely chopped|
|4||cups frozen peas, rinsed with cold water|
|Salt and pepper, to taste|
|¼||cup heavy cream|
|1||pound dried angel hair pasta|
|Handful fresh chives, most chopped, a few left whole|
|¼||cup shredded Parmesan|
1. In a large skillet over medium-high heat, toast the nuts, tossing often, for 5 minutes, or until they are fragrant and beginning to brown. Transfer to a plate. Wipe out the pan.
2. In the skillet, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the shallots and cook, stirring often, for 3 minutes or until they begin to soften. Add 2 cups of the peas, salt, and pepper. Cook, stirring, for 2 minutes.
3. Transfer the pea mixture to a food processor. Work in on-off motions until smooth. Add the cream and work again until the mixture forms a puree.
4. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the angel hair and cook for 3 minutes or until it is almost tender. Add the remaining 2 cups peas and continue cooking just until the water returns to a boil and the angel hair is cooked but still has some bite. Dip a measuring cup into the water and remove ½ cup.
5. Drain the pasta but do not rinse. Return to the cooking pot. Add the pureed peas and toss well. Add some of the pasta cooking water, a few tablespoons at a time, if necessary, to loosen the sauce. Taste the sauce for seasoning and add more salt and pepper, if you like.
6. Toss with hazelnuts and chopped chives. Divide the pasta among 4 shallow bowls and top with Parmesan and whole chives.