Spring Pea Pasta with Mint
1 (16-ounce) bag of gluten-free or conventional shells, fusilli, or penne pasta
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
3 garlic cloves, minced
20 ounces of fresh shelled peas or 2 (10 ounce) bags of frozen best quality peas
1 cup chicken stock
Zest of 1 lemon
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
2 ounces (about 1/3 cup) ricotta salata, crumbled
Generous handful chopped mint
Heat a large pot of salted water over high heat until boiling. Add the pasta, stir, and cook according to the package instructions. Reserve 1 cup of the pasta water, then strain and reserve the pasta.
Heat the oil in a large sauté pan over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant and translucent. Add the peas and cook, stirring frequently, for 4 minutes (6 minutes if using fresh peas). Remove and set aside 3/4 cup of the peas, then turn the heat on the pan of remaining peas to medium-high. Add the chicken stock and simmer for 2 minutes (4 minutes if using fresh peas).
Carefully transfer the pan contents to a food processor or blender. Add the lemon zest, salt, and pepper and process until very smooth. Adjust the seasonings to taste.
Toss the pasta with reserved peas and pea sauce. Transfer to serving platter, sprinkle with crumbled cheese and chopped mint, and serve warm or at room temperature.