{recipe} Orecchiette with Sugar Snap Peas & Parmesan Sauce

Today is officially the first day of spring, and I couldn’t be happier. Seeing all the green, sprouting stuff in the market makes my taste buds tingle. I am excited to shake off the last of those hearty winter squashes and tubers and move on to all things verdant, fresh, and crunchy. Sugar snap peas top the list of my favorite springtime treats!

This dish is simple to make and the sauce comes out with a very creamy texture, despite the total absence of cream or butter. Egg yolks, parmesan, and starchy pasta water combine to coat the orecchiete with a rich sauce that plays against the crunchy pop of the snap peas. I cut the peas in roughly the same size as the orecchiette to optimize for the best bites. It’s almost like a vegetarian version of pasta carbonara.

RECIPE: Orecchiette with Sugar Snap Peas & Parmesan Sauce
serves 2 and can easily be doubled


  • 1 3/4 cup dry orecchiete (ear-shaped pasta)
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1 1/2 cups fresh sugar snap peas, trimmed and cut into 1/2 inch pieces
  • 1-2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 2 egg yolks, beaten well
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan
  • salt and pepper


  • Heat the oil in a saute pan over medium heat. Add the peas and cook about 1 minute, until cooked but still crunchy. Turn off heat. Add the garlic and cook in the already-hot pan, stirring often, for about 30 seconds.
  • Cook the pasta according to the package directions in salted water. Drain pasta, but be sure to reserve at least 1/2 cup of the cooking water and set aside. (It is a key element to making the sauce come together at the end!)
  • Add hot drained pasta to the saute pan, which should still be off the heat. Quickly add the egg yolks, parmesan, and about 1/4 cup hot pasta water. Stir well. The sauce should start to come together and thicken within a minute or two. (If it is too thick, add a little more pasta water. If it is too thin, add a little more parmesan.)
  • Taste and season with salt and pepper. Because parmesan is salty, it can be easy to over-salt.
  • Serve immediately.

You may also like...