SERVES 6 This dish is likely to incite a love affair with pasta salad and peas— even if you’re a fan of neither. It’s that good. Don’t be surprised at the thin sauce; it thickens as it cools. To make this gluten free pasta salad also dairy-free, skip the ricotta salata or feta–easy-peasy!
1 (16-ounce) package gluten-free shells, fusilli, or penne pasta
1⁄4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 (10-ounce) bags frozen or 4 cups fresh green peas
1 cup gluten-free chicken stock
Zest of 1 lemon
1⁄8 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
2 ounces (about 1⁄3 cup) ricotta salata or feta, crumbled (optional)
Handful chopped fresh mint
Heat a large pot of salted water over high heat until boiling. Add the pasta, stir, and cook as directed on the package. Reserve 1 cup of the pasta cooking water and drain the pasta.
Heat the oil in a large sauté pan over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant and translucent, about 30 seconds. Add the peas and cook, stirring frequently, for 4 minutes (6 minutes for fresh peas). Reserve 3⁄4 cup peas, then raise the heat on the remaining peas to medium-high. Add the chicken stock and simmer for 2 minutes (4 minutes for fresh peas).
Transfer the pan contents to a food processor or blender. Add the lemon zest, 1⁄2 teaspoon salt, and the pepper and blend until very smooth, adding a little pasta water if the sauce is very thick. Toss the pasta with the reserved peas and the pea sauce. Transfer to a serving platter, sprinkle with crumbled cheese and chopped mint, and serve warm or at room temperature.