Labor Day is almost here. The day that heralds the end of summer and the beginning of fall…..somewhere. Labor Day here in Nashville heralds our hottest days and nights, hours of watering gardens & lawns or just giving up and letting it all go to seed. Plump ripe tomatoes, the last of the Lady Peas at the Farmer’s Market and at my house absolutely no desire to fire up the oven. Supper has to be short & a bit sassy, using whatever I can lay my hands on…healthy & colorful is always good…a little crunch…a glass of cool white wine. That is truly about all I can deal with.
Enter, stage left….Fergola Sarda. Have you heard of it? I had not until recently when perusing the shelves of Lazzaroli’s Pasta down the street from my house here on Fifth Avenue North. My eyes alighted on a bag of pasta that contained tiny round, lightly toasted looking balls…like giant Israeli Couscous, but not.
Fergola Sarda is pasta from the region of Sardinia, Italy. A staple in the Sardinian kitchen this little pasta is actually toasted in an oven which gives it a very rustic appearance & homey flavor. Don’t you love a new food find?
Using other ingredients on hand here is my recipe for “Fergola Sarda Pasta, Lady Peas, and Pesto Salad”.
Ingredients I used:
1 cup Fergola Sarda Pasta cooked al dente according to the package directions; 1 cup Lady Peas (a variety of field peas which include among others Crowder peas, Butter beans, use any of these for this recipe) cooked; sliced Cucumbers & Avocados; quartered homegrown tomatoes; red onion slivers; the juice of 1 lemon, sea salt & freshly ground black pepper; freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano, 1 cup of your favorite homemade or store-bought pesto (1/2 cup for mixing in salad & 1/2 cup for serving) & a splash each of olive oil & white balsamic vinegar
When the Fergola Sarda Pasta is cooked al dente & drained, pile it in a serving dish. I used a deep platter. The golden color is so appealing isn’t it? I am just a bit smitten.
I really like the addition of raw onions to a dish such as this salad, but often not the overbearing strong flavor which can take over the others. Here is my tip for “sweetening the onion”. Put your sliced, diced, chopped onions in a bowl. Toss with freshly squeezed lemon juice. Let sit for about 1/2 hour. Drain and add to your recipe. Taste one. You will be amazed at the way the lemon juice totally takes away the harshness of some onions.
Cooking Lady Peas for this salad is very easy. I rinse fresh peas & drain in a colander. I then cook them in a saucepan barely covered with water, adding some salt & pepper, a dash of garlic powder & a couple of pats of butter. Bring to a boil, turn to simmer for about 20 minutes or until peas have absorbed some of the liquid. Peas are ready for this salad when you press one between your fingers and it “gives”. Drain cooked peas in a colander allowing to cool a few minutes.
Add all remaining ingredients to pasta and toss gently.
Serve immediately or chill for later. Dollop additional pesto on side of plates when serving as well as a generous grating of Parmesan. “Fergola Sarda Pasta, Lady Peas & Pesto Salad” perfect as is for an entrée, would be a tasty companion to alongside grilled chicken for a dinner party.
Don’t work too hard this Labor Day, summer is fleeting, enjoy it. Stay Cool.