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Welcome to SAVEUR’s weekly column on how to cook local produce according to our test kitchen manager, Fatima Khawaja. This is where you’ll find creative, unfussy meal ideas plus plenty of cooking advice—like what to do with that bumper crop of zucchini or how to store delicate heirloom tomatoes. Each week, Fatima hits the farmers market and chooses a peak-season ingredient to explore in depth. Follow along, and you’ll learn how to turn the season’s bounty into easy plant-based meals that’ll be on the table in under an hour.

Last weekend at the farmers market, the bright peas and newly arrived cherry tomatoes caught my eye and I immediately thought of one of my favorite ways to transform my haul into something quick for my family: pasta. I found some scallions in my fridge, so I washed and chopped the whole bunch (if available, ramps can also be used here as well as shallots or garlic). Sizzled alliums and buttery peas, tossed with linguine (or any long pasta) and blistered sun-kissed tomatoes and cheese make a silky sauce that isn’t too heavy for a warm summer evening. I like this dish alongside a crisp white wine, or even a pile of grilled shrimp. 

As is the case with all produce, it is a special treat to buy fresh shelling peas directly from the farmer who grew them. You might even stumble upon pea shoots (great in salads), or sugar peas (which also work well in this pasta; just slice them thinly and cook them a little bit longer) depending on the season and your locale. However, frozen peas work great if you can’t find fresh ones, especially during the colder months when the markets become a little sparse in delicate greens. Picked and packed when they are perfectly sweet, with the convenience of being ready to cook, frozen peas are versatile. I often freeze my own if I have leftovers from the farmers market. 

Shelling peas are sold in the pod. Buy them by weight (a pound or two should give you plenty for this recipe), and make sure they are dry, bright green, and have minimal discoloration. To extend their life in the fridge, you can wrap them in a damp kitchen towel, place them in a resealable bag, and store them in the crisper. To shell the peas, use your thumb to split the pod down the center seam, revealing the tiny orbs that you can pop out with your nail. I always toss the pods in my compost. Peas are a labor of love, but absolutely worth it for their mild sweetness that goes well with a range of salty and savory flavors from eggs to salad to fish.

Linguine with Fresh Peas and Cherry Tomatoes
This fresh weeknight pasta is filled with juicy seasonal produce.
Yield: serves 4
Time: 40 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 lb. linguine
  • 4 tbsp. salted butter, divided
  • ¼ cups olive oil, divided
  • 1 lb. cherry tomatoes
  • ¼ cups finely chopped scallions, or 3 finely chopped garlic cloves
  • 1 large shallot, finely chopped
  • 2 cups shelled peas, preferably fresh
  • 1 cup shredded Parmigiano-Reggiano
  • 1 tbsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tbsp. finely grated lemon zest
  • 2 tbsp. fresh lemon juice

Instructions

  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the linguine, stirring occasionally, until al dente, 8–10 minutes. Reserve 2 cups of the pasta liquid, then drain and set aside.
  2. Meanwhile, to a large skillet set over medium-high heat, add 2 tablespoons of the butter and 2 tablespoons of the oil. When the foam subsides, add the tomatoes and cook, stirring frequently and adding water if the pan looks dry, until they have burst and are browned in spots, about 8 minutes. Transfer to a plate.
  3. To the empty skillet, add the remaining butter and oil, the scallions, and the shallot and cook, stirring frequently, until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add the peas and cook, stirring frequently, until tender but still bright green, about 2 minutes more. Stir in the reserved tomatoes and all the collected juices, using tongs, toss in the linguine. Add the Parmiggiano, black pepper, salt to taste, and 1 cup of reserved pasta liquid at a time, and cook, tossing continuously, until the sauce is silky, 3–4 minutes. Serve immediately.

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