Did you know that both Punjabis and Italians love lemon pickle, "sunshine in a jar"? (See photo below.) Decided to experiment with this Punjabi standby that I usually pair with paurantha, whole wheat flatbreads, or saag, stewed mixed greens, in Menus and Memories. Gave it an Italian setting in honor of the newest member of our extended family, Milo Umberto, born this week in Florence, Italy. It's a perky, fast and flavorful pasta dish. You may “doctor” it in so many ways. Punjabi/Italian fusion at it's best.

“Sunshine” Pasta (vegan)

Yield: 4 servings

8 oz. spaghetti

1 tablespoon salt

¼ cup olive oil

4 cloves garlic, minced

1 teaspoon red pepper flakes

1 cup green peas or edamame, lightly cooked or ¼ cup sliced black olives

¼ cup slivered lemon pickle nimboo achaar

1/3 cup flat-leaf parsley of cilantro, finely sliced
 
1 teaspoon achaar masala (optional)

Freshly ground black pepper, salt to taste

Grated Pecorino or Parmesan (optional)
  

           Bring water to a boil in a medium pot. Add the spaghetti and salt. Give a stir and continue boiling for about 8 minutes. Reserve a ¼ cup of pasta water and drain the rest in a colander.

           In the empty pot heat the olive oil and the garlic and pepper flakes. Sauté for about a minute but do not brown. Add the peas and lemon pickle and cook for another minute. Add the parsley or cilantro. Toss in the spaghetti and the reserved pasta water. Add pepper and salt to taste. Reheat slightly if necessary. Toss in the cheese, if using.