Orzo and Peas in Basil Lemon Cream Sauce

Have I ever told you I’m a horrible gardener? Like, awful. I go for weeks without mowing the lawn. I’m excellent at ignoring weeds. I’ve killed cacti, for crying out loud. When it comes to planting a summer vegetable garden, no matter how hard I try to make a decent go of it, halfway through July everything just sort of…meh. Withers, dies, stops growing. You name it. So when people in my life offer home-grown produce, I jump on that train faster than you can say, “Free Vegetables”.

I was trying to think of something quippy there but it’s late, and I’m tired.

Anyway, a coworker offered me a small bag of peas today, which I gladly took. I usually eat them raw in the pod (extra fiber!), but on the way home today I was thinking about making them with dinner and I came up with this. It’s super simple, you can throw it together while everything else is in the oven (or on the grill), and super tasty.

This was only about 3/4 cup of fresh peas. I would have liked at least a full cup, if not a cup and a half to the half pound of pasta I had. If you don’t have fresh peas, you can absolutely use frozen, just toss them in the pasta when making the sauce as opposed to boiling them with the pasta.

Julienne (or chiffonnade) of basil. This was four large leaves, I only needed two.

Lemon zest. Best smell. Just use the zest, not the juice, or you’ll end up with pasta with curdled cream, which, ick.

See? Simple. Tasty.

And also kind of pretty.

Orzo and Peas with Basil Lemon Cream Sauce

1/2 lb orzo pasta

1-1 1/2 cup fresh (or frozen) peas

2 leaves basil, julienned

2 tsp fresh lemon zest

3 TB butter

2 TB flour

1/2 cup heavy cream

Salt & Pepper to taste

1. Shell fresh peas. Place a pot of water on to boil. Salt water, add orzo, and cook according to package directions. Add peas to boiling pasta with 2-3 minutes left and drain.

2. Melt butter in a pan over medium high heat. Add flour and stir, creating a light loose roux. Add pasta, peas, and cream to the pan and stir, allowing the sauce to thicken.

3. Add basil & lemon to the pasta, salt and pepper to taste, and serve.
Enjoy! And if you have any home grown produce you’re looking to get rid of this summer? I’m your girl.