Gentle yet powerful, sophisticated yet earthy, rich yet not the least bit ostentatious. And one more thing: capable of leaving a woman satisfied beyond her wildest imaginings. If you're thinking George Clooney, think again. This is pappardelle with peas and Parmesan from Manhattan's Pó restaurant. "The sauce has a bright, straightforward flavor," says Pó chef John Baron. "It's a simple recipe that relies on the quality of its ingredients." So keep in mind that all olive oil is not created equal, and walk that extra block for the grainy, buttery, sharp tang of true Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese. The result will be a bowl of pasta that's nothing short of bliss.
Servings: Serves 4
Ingredients 1 pound fresh pappardelle or fettuccine1/3 cup and 1 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil1 cup coarsely chopped red onion2 Tbsp. sugar1 Tbsp. salt1/4 tsp. black pepper2 cups fresh or frozen peas , thawed1/2 cup chicken broth or water1 Tbsp. butter12 whole mint leaves , optionalFreshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese to tasteWhole cooked peas for garnish
Note: It's fine to use frozen peas (try petit pois for a more delicate flavor), but don't skimp on the fresh pasta.
Boil a large pot of salted water and cook pasta until al dente.
Meanwhile, in a wide skillet, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium heat until hot. Add the onion, sugar, salt, pepper, and fresh peas. Cook 10 to 12 minutes or until vegetables are tender, stirring occasionally. (If using frozen peas, add them when onion is tender, and cook 2 minutes more, stirring.) Reserve whole peas for garnish, then transfer mixture to a blender and puree with broth or water and remaining olive oil, scraping sides of blender with a rubber spatula.
When pasta is done, drain it. Mix pea puree and butter in a saucepan; add pasta and stir until it's evenly coated. Add mint leaves and toss well. Serve with Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese and garnish with whole cooked peas.