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For restaurant-quality pasta at home, learning to use pasta cooking liquid to finish the sauce is essential—the dissolved starch in the water thickens the sauce while suspending the fat in a cream emulsion that clings to the noodles. For the best result, we love artisanal pastas like Pastaio Via Corta, Rustichella d'Abruzzo, Martelli, and Seggiano Organic. Each of these companies extrudes their pastas through bronze dies and makes their doughs from 100 percent durum semolina wheat, creating a rougher texture that helps the sauce cling to the noodle. Sweet spring peas and garlicky sauce flood the tubular garganelli pasta, making each bite a surprise. Substitute penne if you can't find garganelli, and don't skip the lemon and mint at the end, which bring balance to the dish.

April 2019


Credit: Victor Protasio

Recipe Summary

30 mins


Ingredient Checklist


Instructions Checklist
  • Smash 3 garlic cloves. Place scallions, cream, and smashed garlic in a small saucepan. Finely chop remaining 3 garlic cloves to equal 1 tablespoon; set aside.

  • Bring scallion mixture to a boil over medium-low. Reduce heat to low; simmer, stirring occasionally, until scallions are crisp-tender and garlic is softened, about 10 minutes. Pour mixture into a blender. Secure lid; remove center piece to allow steam to escape. Place a clean towel over opening. Process until smooth, about 40 seconds. Stir in salt; set aside.

  • Cook pasta in a pot according to master technique (until very al dente, 3 minutes less than package directions call for).

  • While pasta cooks, melt 2 tablespoons butter in a large skillet over medium. Add reserved 1 tablespoon chopped garlic; cook, stirring often, until softened and fragrant, about 1 minute and 30 seconds.

  • Using a spider, transfer pasta to skillet, reserving cooking liquid. Add scallion-cream mixture and peas to skillet; increase heat to medium-high. Add 1/4 cup reserved cooking liquid; cook, stirring and shaking skillet constantly, until pasta is tender and sauce is loose and creamy, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat; add speck, cheese, mint, lemon zest and juice, remaining 2 tablespoons butter, and 1/4 cup cooking liquid, stirring until combined.

Suggested Pairing

Vibrant, lightly herbal Alto Adige white.