Not only is the pea a universally popular vegetable, it’s also my wife and my son’s favourite—although, botanically speaking, a pea is actually a fruit! Sometimes I serve this fresh-tasting pea coulis and tortellini on flameproof serving dishes and pop them under a hot broiler 1 to 2 minutes just until the cheese starts to melt. The salad is optional, but I like the combination.
– PREPARATION TIME 40 minutes, plus 60 minutes resting.
– COOKING TIME 15 minutes.
– FOR THE PASTA.
– 2⅓ cups plus 1 tablespoon pasta flour.
– 1 egg.
– 1 egg yolk.
– 1 tablespoon olive oil.
– FOR THE TORTELLINI.
– 4 tablespoons unsalted butter.
– 2 cups fresh podded peas (or use thawed peas if there are not any really fresh ones around).
– 1 tablespoon chopped mint leaves.
– semolina flour, for dusting.
– 3½ ounces soft goat cheese log, such as Ste. Maure, rind removed.
– sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.
– FOR THE PEA SHOOT SALAD.
– large handful pea shoots.
– 1 tablespoon olive oil.
– 1 tablespoon pumpkin seeds.
Step 2: To make the filling, pour 3½ tablespoons water into a saucepan over medium heat. Add the butter, season with salt and pepper and bring to a boil. Add the peas and cook 4 to 8 minutes for fresh, 2 to 3 minutes for frozen, or until just tender. Taste one and it should be sweet but with the merest hint of a crunch. Using a slotted spoon, lift the peas out of the water and put 1⅓ cups in a bowl. Crush them lightly with a fork and season with salt and pepper to taste, then fold in the mint. The mixture should be really moist. Cover with plastic wrap and leave to one side.
Step 3: To make a pea coulis, put the remaining peas in a food processor and blitz until very smooth, then add a little of the cooking liquid and blitz until it is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. Pass the mixture through a fine strainer into pasta bowls, cover and leave to one side.
Step 4: Lightly dust the countertop and a baking sheet with semolina flour. Roll out the pasta dough until ½ inch thick, then cut into 2 rectangles big enough to fit through your pasta machine. Roll through the machine, decreasing the thickness gauge each time, until it reaches the thinnest setting possible, dusting with semolina flour to prevent it sticking. Cut out twenty 3-inch circles of dough. Put a teaspoon of crushed peas onto each circle, just below the middle. Brush the edge of the pasta lightly with water, then fold the top half over the filling and press the edges to seal. Pick up the pasta crescent and twist the edges together, forming a lip on the outside edge, then put the tortellini on the prepared baking tray.
Step 5: To make the salad, toss the pea shoots, oil and pumpkin seeds in a small bowl, then season with salt and pepper to taste.
Step 6: Bring a large pan of salted water to a boil. Add the tortellini and cook 4 to 5 minutes until the pasta floats to the top of the pan. Drain the tortellini, then spoon on top of the coulis on serving plates. Crumble the cheese over the top, and finish with a little of the salad to serve.