For the dedicated kitchen gardener, winter can be a tough period limited to leafing through seed catalogs and stretching the remnants of whatever was canned or frozen from last season's harvest.
Then comes springtime. In some gardens the first crop of peas is planted as early as St. Patrick's Day and harvested before the summer heat begins. And then there's that mint, which no matter how rough a winter it's been, seems to be the first herb that bounces back.
In this spirit we've created this recipe for fusilli with tomatoes, peas, garlic, feta and mint. Not ready to garden? Frozen peas work just fine.
>Fusilli with Tomatoes, Peas, Garlic, Feta and Mint
12 ounces regular or whole-grain fusilli pasta
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1 28-ounce can diced tomatoes
5 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup baby peas, fresh or frozen
3 tablespoons capers, rinsed
1/4 cup chopped fresh mint
Salt and ground black pepper, to taste
1/3 cup crumbled feta cheese
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook the pasta according to package directions, then drain well. Return the pasta to the pot and toss with 1 tablespoon of the oil. Set aside.
Meanwhile, drain the tomatoes, reserving 1/3 cup of the juice. Set both aside.
In a large skillet over medium-low, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon of the oil. Add the garlic and saute until fragrant, but not browned, about 1 minute. Add the peas, capers and the tomatoes and reserved juice. Increase heat to medium-high and cook, stirring occasionally, until the sauce is simmering, 5 to 7 minutes. Stir in the mint, then season with salt and pepper.
Serve the pasta with the sauce spooned over the top and sprinkled with feta. Serves four.Per serving (values are rounded to the nearest whole number): 480 calories; 107 calories from fat (22 percent of total calories); 12 g fat (3 g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 11 mg cholesterol; 78 g carbohydrate; 16 g protein; 9 g fiber; 732 mg sodium.