Penne con Cime di Piselli Selvatici

(Penne Pasta with Wild Pea Shoots)


1/2 Lb. Penne or other short pasta
1 Lb. Pea shoots - freshly picked. [See below]
1/4 Cup Extra Virgin Olive oil
1/4 Cup Olives - black and pitted
2 Tsp Capers - salted
1 Oz. Butter
1/8 Tsp. Peperoncino picante - hot
Q.B.     Salt and pepper
1/4 Cup Parmesan cheese - freshly grated


I asked a very close friend in Siena, Italy for the translation of Pea shoots. He did that, and sent this ancient recipe for a pea shoot pasta as well.  While meatless, it is similar to ours. We had not seen the recipe, so were once again reminded that there is indeed nothing new under the sun!  If you are interested in trying the recipe, here it is, courtesy of Marco P. If you have not tried The Artisan Pea Shoot pasta, here that is: [Penne with Pea shoots, Chicken and Pancetta.[ In either recipe, you may substitute other green if you cannot find pea shoots. Young Swiss chard is a good option as is rapini.


Start by desalinating the capers  To remove the salt from th ecapers soak them in warm water for approximately an hour before using.

Put the pitted olives in water for one half hour before using.

Clean the wild pea shoots (cime di piselli) in water that has had a tablespoon of sodium bicarbonate added to it. If using peas shoots purchased at a local market, simply rinse them in cold eater. If using another vegetable like young Swiss chard, remove the ribs from each leave then  rinse the leaves  with cold water. If using rapini, and you find it too bitter for your taste, soak in salted water for 30 minutes, then rinse and use as directed in this recipe.

Bring a pot of water to boil and add the peas shoots. Cook for 5-6 minutes, then remove from the water with tongs and drain. Save the water in which the shoots were cooked.  Squeeze the excess water from the shoots, and then cut the shoots int smaller pieces.

Bring the water that the shoots were cooked in to a boil then add the pasta. 

While the pasta is cooking, brown the garlic in a large fry pan. Remove the garlic from the pan and add the capers, the olives and the peperoncino if using. Add the pea shoots to this pan, then the butter and stir with a wooden spoon while heating. (If it seems a bit dry, add a bit more butter or olive oil.)

Garnish with Parmesan cheese, and serv immediately.

Marco noted that this dish was not originally served with pasta. Itwas usually made only with oil, or spiced up with garlic.  Pasta was reserved for those who could afford it.

Wine Choices: This dish goes well with either the 2006 or 2007 De Angelis Syrah. alternatively an old style Zinfandel is another good choice.  A nice Chianti would also be quite appropriate.

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Last updated on:10/25/09 02:52:20 PM