Simple Lemon Pasta with Parmesan and Pea Shoots

Two handfuls fresh pea shoots or pea tendrils
Zest of 1 large lemon
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/3 cup good-quality extra virgin olive oil
1 cup grated parmesan cheese (from a block — not pre-grated) , plus extra for garnish
Fresh ground black pepper, generous amounts!
1/2 lb. spaghetti
1/2 cup pasta water (reserved from when you cook the spaghetti)
Kosher salt, to taste


  1. If your pea shoots are particularly long, chop them into halves or thirds so they’re a bit easier to manage. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together lemon zest, lemon juice, olive oil, grated parmesan cheese, and a generous amount of fresh ground pepper. (I like to do this while I’m waiting for the pasta water to boil!)
  3. Cook spaghetti in very salty water until al dente.
  4. Reserve 1/2 cup of the pasta water (I just ladle some of the hot water out of the pot and into a measuring cup).
  5. Drain spaghetti and immediately add it to the mixing bowl with the lemon-olive oil mixture. Add reserved pasta water and toss to combine. The heat from the pasta will warm the sauce and melt the parmesan cheese.
  6. Add pea shoots to pasta and toss until parmesan has melted into a smooth sauce and pea shoots have softened slightly.
  7. Taste pasta and add a pinch of kosher salt to taste.
  8. Top pasta with additional parmesan cheese for garnish and serve immediately.