Fresh Lemon Pasta with Spring Peas and Mint

A Taste of Yellow for LIVESTRONG Day 2007!

When I first heard of this event, I thought it would be fun to cook on a variation of yellow, because who doesn’t love yellow foods? But the underlying reason for the event, cancer, is something that has affected almost everyone and now, as the Lance Armstrong Foundation is highlighting, numerous survivors are living strong each day (the host of this event, Barbara is a cancer survivor herself).

My family is no different, and as I sat down to write this I thought of how things converge coincidentally. My father is currently on a boat sailing towards Venice, and he’ll be coming to visit me tomorrow. My father is one to talk about cancer. His father and mother were both lost a few years apart, my grandmother after overcoming breast cancer and being diagnosed with a second cancer later, she was in and out of the hospital for almost 15 years. They died when they were in their early fifties and he was still in his 20s.

Growing up, I was lucky to still have my mother’s parents alive, but I didn’t know much about my Italian grandparents because my father wouldn’t talk about them often. Now I realize that it’s because he was still deeply affected by what happened, and that was another reason he avoided doctors and hospitals as he spent so much time in them. As his 50th birthday approached and passed, I now realize he was reflecting on his life and how he had now outlived the age his parents both died. How much longer would he have? This changed something in him and he started reaching out more to us, talking about them and enjoying his own life more.

So this dish is for you, Theresa and Fred, and for you, Dad.

Lemons and Mint

Fresh Lemon Pasta with Spring Peas and Mint

Unfortunately I can’t show you some bright lemon pasta for A Taste of Yellow, because it doesn’t work like that. Maybe I could have used more lemon zest but I didn’t want to waste lemons. This had a really nice lemon undertone to it. I chose a really light sauce so I could see how much the lemons came through, which is why it’s important not to put too much mint.

Lemon Pasta
350g Flour
150g Semolina flour
5 eggs
2 lemons (zest and juice)
Sugar, a pinch
Flour at hand

Spring Peas & Mint Sauce
300g shelled peas
3-4 leaves of fresh mint, chopped
Olive oil (do I need to say extra virgin?)

  1. For the lemon juice and zest, since I wasn’t sure how it would affect the taste of the pasta, I decided to blend them in a food processor first to make the pieces smaller and easier to mix thoroughly throughout the pasta. I also added a teaspoon of sugar for the acidity, and the salt for the pasta can be added here or with the flour.
  2. On a work surface, put both types of flour into a pile and create a well for the eggs and lemon juice. This is a lot of liquid, so if you want, you can work them in one at a time or all together. I actually worked the first lemon juice in and then added in the second one later. Work the pasta for about 10 minutes until it gets elastic. Keep a supply of flour nearby so you can add some if it gets too sticky.
  3. Divide it into manageable parts (I chose three) and run each through your pasta roller at the widest setting. I rolled out pieces, folded them in half, and ran them through again, and then laid them to rest with a little flour sprinkled on. I used a smaller/thinner setting on the next roll.
  4. I cut the sheets of pasta at the “tagliatelle” setting, using what I call the “pasta forearm” which is using your forearm as both a guide for pasta coming out as well as feeding it into the machine. I was well floured-up after this (make sure you wear a tank top or short sleeve shirt!). Set the cut pasta on a floured surface and let rest for 10-15 minutes before cooking. If you want to, you can dry out the pasta to be used within 2 weeks. I made mine into little nests and then used what we didn’t cook in the days to follow. To cook, boiled in salted water for 3-4 minutes.

Fresh Lemon Pasta

For the Spring Peas & Mint Sauce:
Shell your fresh peas and in a pan, saute the peas on medium heat for 2-3 minutes in the olive oil. Add the drained pasta to the pan and mix for a minute or two. Take it off the heat and mix in the chopped mint. Add more olive oil if necessary. Serve.

Fresh Lemon Pasta with Peas and Mint

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  1. says

    That looks interesting and I will go over my skepticism about the mix of lemon and peas (peas and mint is a classic ;-).
    I’ll let you know in a couple of days :-)
    Ciao. Nicola

  2. says

    I’ve just discovered your site and I’m acually having quite some fun reading it…. Never thought about peas and lemon but I’ll give it a try! :-)

  3. lieludalis says

    Looks delicious! I’m so afraid of homemade pasta though. Perhaps this post will finally inspire me to try. Also, I would never think to combine any of these flavors. Perhaps this is a side effect from disliking orange juice just after I have brushed my teeth with (mint) toothpaste! Haha!

  4. Ms. Adventures in Italy says

    @Nicola/Cavoletto – the lemon isn’t really strong, and I didn’t add any to the sauce, just in the pasta dough itself. I think the flavors worked really well together. Welcome, Cavoletto!
    @Judith – tagged? I’ll go check it out!
    @lieludalis – you have to just start doing it – it’s fun! I had a lemon & mint yogurt recently that was the catalyst for this :)

  5. says

    I’ve said it a million times but I’ll say it again, your photos are always incredible!

    As for any kind of citrus-infused pasta dish–I might dare to try this only because you are endorsing it, but I had a bad experience with some kind of lemon cream pasta that literally had me gagging, and since then I’ve sworn off any kind of lemon pasta combination. This might be the inspiration to give it a go again…??

  6. says

    loved the pasta and the story. Thanks for sharing. My sister died of breast cancer and, once I acquire the skill level, will make your pasta in her memory.

  7. says

    That’s gorgeous looking pasta if I might say so myself. Tender story about your father, hope you’ll post something on his visit!

  8. says

    Your food photos are getting better and better. Yummy bet your loving your new kitchen from the looks of it. How have you been?

  9. Ms. Adventures in Italy says

    @nyc, ack, tagged again! I better get to it.
    @shelley – there is no cream and no cloying lemon flavor, so I bet I could force you to try it. :)
    @jackie, thanks!
    @Italian woman, you can only get the skill trying! you’re ready, start now!
    @TriniGourmet – ditto for you…go for it!
    @Rowena – my internet has been down at home so he’s yet to read it. I’ll let u know.
    @C(h)ristine – let’s see your results!
    @Gia – I think the photos are like the pics, trial and error and practicing. Thanks for the compliment. I’ve been doing good and watching Veronica grow! So cute.
    @Brilynn- thanks.
    @Barbara – thanks for hosting, it’s a wonderful cause. Hopefully we’re raising awareness.

  10. says

    I’m touched to hear that your Dad chose to open up more; that’s wonderful. Thanks for this lovely post and delicious springtime recipe. Fresh peas are currently in season, and I can’t get enough of them!

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