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This is the typical sort of dinner you’ll get at our house on a day when I don’t want to venture out in the 110 degree suffocating heat just to get groceries! I will do anything to avoid leaving the air-conditioned loveliness that is my house!

First I look in the refrigerator – not much there. More smoked pork, but we’ve had that 2 days in a row, so that will not fly with my guys. Produce drawers – bell peppers, wilting green onions, romaine that has about 24 hours before decisions must be made, and a surprisingly good-looking bunch of cilantro.

Next stop – garden – ugg! Everything is looking sad, drought-ridden, and parched! Snip off the last bit of tarragon and get back into the A/C!

What about the pantry – nothing at all inspiring. There is pasta, but that’s always sitting there…. Why in God’s name do these people need to eat every darn day – don’t they know how hot it is?!?!  OK, compose yourself.

Last stop the freezer – oh the glorious coldness that flows from the freeze finally gives me the inspiration I have been so very desperate for! What miracles do I find there? Nothing all that much really – shrimp, edamame, and peas – but it is enough.

Peas, now those are a story on their own! The thing you need to know about peas is that… I Do Not Eat Peas. In any and every instance, other than today, the only reason you would find peas in my freezer is when I purchased them to use as an ice pack for injuries. 

Frozen peas are excellent injury ice-packs! The mold and form to a hurt knee, elbow, wrist…whatever ailment they are needed for, you can not beat a package of frozen peas to make the ouchie feel better, honestly, frozen peas are better than a mommy’s kiss!

But eating those peas – No Thank You! Where could a girl such as myself acquire such a distaste and violent reaction to the innocent little pea… two words… canned peas! It’s sad but true, I grew up on canned vegetables. Aside from iceberg lettuce, tomatoes, and the occasional corn on the cob; fresh vegetables were not known in my childhood home. And frozen vegetables – barely knew they existed. The only proof of them was on the TV, courtesy of the Jolly Green Giant or Bird’s Eye commercials.

My husband, Dave, on the other hand – grew up with not only frozen vegetables but fresh as well. He fondly recalls sitting on his back porch in Rockton, Illinois, shelling peas from his dad’s garden.

So before this evening, guess how many times I’ve cooked peas for him in the 25 years we’ve been married or the 28 years we’ve been together?  If you know me, you may have already guessed the answer correctly – not once! Oh sure, I’ve scantly added them to paella (then easily picked them out of my portion.) Or layered them in the classic overnight layer salad (which includes iceberg, peas, sugar/mayonnaise, bacon, green onions, hard-cooked eggs, etc). Then when I dish up my own plate, I just scoop around the peas and pick off the few that cling to the sweet mayo layer. But actually, cook and serve peas as the main ingredient or side dish for dinner – never, not once!

Not until today. Why today? I don’t know, I was at Trader Joe’s a couple of days ago and saw the little bag of frozen petite peas and just felt sorry for Dave and my fierce resistance all this time to serve him his happy childhood memory just because of my own not-so-pleasant childhood memory.  Really there is only one word for that – selfish. So, you have to know that when I say this pasta with peas is good, it must be Really Good …  ‘Nuff said!

Pea, Edamame, and Shrimp Capellini

2 or 3 large garlic cloves, peeled
Leaves and tender stems from 1 bunch cilantro
1/4 cup fresh tarragon leaves
3 tablespoons olive oil
12-ounce package frozen shelled edamame
12 to 16-ounce package frozen petite peas
1/2 pound peeled and deveined shrimp, cut into bite-size pieces
12 to 16-ounce package capellini (angel hair) pasta
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan

Bring a large pot of water to a boil.  Meanwhile, turn on a food processor fitted with a steel blade, and drop the garlic in through the feed tube, to mince.  Stop the machine and scrape down the bowl with a spatula. Add the cilantro and tarragon leaves to the bowl, and process until finely minced. With the machine running, drizzle the olive oil through the feed tube. Transfer the mixture to a large bowl.

When the water in the pot comes to a boil, salt generously, and add the edamame and peas; cook for 3 to 4 minutes. Remove vegetables from the pot with a strainer or a slotted spoon, and place them in another bowl. Return water to a boil and add the shrimp.

Boil just until pink and cooked through, 1 to 2 minutes. Remove from the pot with a strainer or a slotted spoon, and add to the bowl with edamame and peas.

Return water to the boil and add the pasta; cook al dente following the instructions on the package. When the pasta is cooked, remove 1/2 cup of the cooking water and add to the bowl with the cilantro mixture. Drain the pasta, and add to the cilantro, toss to combine. Stir in the edamame mixture and toss to combine.  Divide between 8 serving bowls, top with Parmesan, and serve.

Serves 8

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1 Anne { 07.20.10 at 11:07 AM }

I’m gonna try it! This looks surprisingly good…even with peas!!! Was Dave SOOOOO happy?! 🙂

2 Linda Hopkins { 07.20.10 at 11:52 AM }

Hi Annie! He was very happy! Miss you and love you! xoxo

3 Sloane { 07.20.10 at 3:33 PM }

Oh the memories. I remember unloading the car with the cases of the canned variety of veggies. Cream corn and spinach were my worst enemy. I loved the lima beans though!

4 Ronnie J { 07.21.10 at 7:25 AM }

Not a fan of peas myself, but this does sound like a perfect summer meal! Peas tonight!

5 Linda Hopkins { 07.21.10 at 2:22 PM }

Ronnie, be sure and let me know what you think after you make it! Thanks for the jalapenos – figuring out what exactly to do with them now!

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