Primavera. {Springtime in Italy}

Yippee! Spring is definitely here. It’s been showing off in Northern Italy for several weeks now and we are soaking in the sunshine, loving the mild temperatures and all the produce popping into the markets and grocery stores.

Often the first signs of “Primavera” are at the market.  The sight of tiny green piselli (peas), fave, wild asparagus, and strawberries are a welcome sight after a cold wet winter.

 

And so I have been buying these spring beauties a lot lately. They get eaten immediately, often before I can even get to the recipe that they were headed for.

The other day as I sat in the kitchen shelling peas, the first snap + the first sniff immediately sent me back to my childhood days growing up in the mid-west. We lived on a small acreage with a corn field on one side and a lovely adopted grandma and grandpa on the other. As an only child with working parents, I was home alone a lot and loved to go visit them. Mrs. B would sit on the back porch and chat with me, (bless her) lemonade and cookies beside us on the steps.

When mom and dad came home, our evenings were often spent in the vegetable garden. We ate peas and green beans and strawberries straight from the vine, while we were weeding or watering the plants.

 

Sometimes my dad would eat a whole tomato like an apple and that made me laugh and roll my eyes every time. Or he would disappear into the corn field and return with 6 ears of corn in his arms, munching on the 7th one. One evening we found a nest of tiny baby rabbits in the garden. I remember how much I wanted to pet one, but we didn’t touch them, afraid the mother would abandon them.

Now that I am grown, I look back fondly on memories of shelling peas on the back porch, the scent of our rambling lilac bush hanging heavy in the air. A lot has happened between Iowa and Italy. At the time, I didn’t appreciate growing up with those simple things. I wanted to go and see and do.

Now at this chapter of my life, I am so happy to take a moment to breathe in the smell of springtime and my memories. Enjoying shelling my piselli and this short season of Primavera.

 

Smashed Peas with Lemon + Mint

Perfect as a dip for fresh veggies, or smeared on a piece of toasted or grilled bread, this is springtime on a spoon.

{More an idea than a recipe, please play with the amounts and base on your taste preferences.}


2 cups *fresh peas, shelled + cooked

1-2 T. fresh mint, chopped

1 lemon, zested and juiced

Your favorite olive oil

Sea salt, to taste

Toasted country bread or ciabatta

* you can use frozen peas, defrosted if you cannot find fresh, or don’t find the shelling a fun walk down memory lane.


 

 

 

Drain the cooked peas, + add to a small food processor. Add the chopped mint, small amounts of the lemon zest and juice (you can add more later) and a small glug of olive oil. Blend with food processor for 5-10 seconds at a time.  Add more olive oil, a dash of salt and blend again. Taste, add more lemon juice, zest and/or olive oil to taste.

By blending in short bursts, you can keep it from getting too smooth, I like mine to remain a little chunky. But by all means blend away if you like a smoother dip-like consistency!

Spread on toasted bread and add a little drizzle of olive oil if you like, or eat plain by the spoonful- preferably with the sun shining on your face and something delicious in your glass.

 

Buon Appetito!

 

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