[Photograph: Christina Holmes]

We're big fans of Il Buco Alimentari e Vineria here at Serious Eats, so it's little surprise that its chef, Justin Smillie, made the cut for Food and Wine's new cookbook America's Greatest New Cooks. Not surprisingly, many of his recipes in the book include pasta in some form. One of his more unique dishes, Pasta with Shiitake, Peas, and Goat Cheese, takes layered lasanga and scrambles it up a bit. Smillie adds fresh primavera-ish flavors to broken flat noodles with peas, goat, cheese, and mint, while grounding the pasta with earthy mushrooms and thyme.

Why I picked this recipe: A broiled lasagna-esque dish has one foot in the comfort foods of winter and another in the bright flavors of spring—just what's needed in the first weeks of February.

What worked: Goat cheese, mint, and peas is guaranteed to be a winning combination; add in the delightfully crunchy bits from broiling pasta with parmesan and the meal is even better.

What didn't: I found the pea-blanching step unnecessary when using thawed frozen peas.

Suggested tweaks: The lack of asparagus in late winter grocery stores shouldn't deter you from making this dish. Simply substitute more frozen peas and/or mushrooms. You can also broil the dish directly in your skillet (as long as it's a broiler-proof number).

As always with our Cook the Book feature, we have five (5) copies of America's Greatest New Cooks to give away this week.

About the author: Kate Williams is a freelance writer out of Berkeley, CA. She is a contributor to The Oxford American, Berkeleyside NOSH, and blogs at cookingwolves.wordpress.com.

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