Home » Italian Pasta Recipes » Pasta and Peas

Pasta and Peas

My comforting Pasta and Peas is the ultimate midweek dinner! This traditional Italian dish, also known as pasta e piselli, is made in just one pot, uses basic pantry staples and comes together in less than 30 minutes. 

Say goodbye to boring weeknight dinners and hello to my deliciously creamy Pasta and Peas!

Pasta and peas in a white bowl on a sky blue napkin.
This is the ultimate midweek dinner!

Just like most traditional Italian dishes, this recipe for Pasta and Peas uses basic and economical ingredients to create a delicious and seriously luscious pasta. I know you’ll love that it is a one pot dish and makes cleaning up a breeze!

Along with my Rigatoni Arrabbiata, Sausage Broccolini Pasta and Tortellini alla Panna, my Pasta with Peas is a speedy midweek dinner. In no time at all, you’ll have an incredibly flavorsome and cheesy pasta dish on the table for your family. 

The secret to this simple recipe is the combination of deliciously starchy pasta water and savory Parmigiano Reggiano (Parmesan Cheese) to create a creamy sauce. It’s completely fuss free and happens naturally as the pasta is cooking. Pasta and Peas is the uncomplicated meal you need in your repertoire!

Why you’ll love this recipe:

  • It’s a delicious one pot dish that comes together in no time.
  • It uses basic and economical ingredients that I’m sure you’ll already have on hand.
  • The creamy, cheesy, savory sauce is the ultimate comfort food.
  • This recipe is a fuss free pasta dish that is perfect for busy nights. 

For complete ingredient quantities and full instructions, please scroll to the printable recipe card at the bottom of the page.

Ingredients

Ingredients for this recipe viewed from above.
  • Olive oil – I prefer extra virgin olive oil because it has a lovely peppery vibrancy. But you could use regular olive oil if you prefer.
  • Onion – for this recipe I use a large yellow onion. 
  • Bacon – I always keep bacon in my freezer divided into smaller portions for dishes like this one. In small portions, it takes no time to defrost and adds instant flavor!
  • Frozen peas – just regular frozen peas. If you can get your hands on sweet fresh peas, absolutely use those!
  • Boiling water – from the kettle or a pot on the stove.
  • Small pasta – my preference is ditalini because they are a very similar shape to the peas but you could use any kind of small pasta that you like – orzo, mezzi rigatoni, shells or ‘little elbows’.
  • Salt and black pepper – nothing fancy here. 
  • Parmigiano Reggiano cheese – also known as Parmesan cheese. I don’t recommend buying the pre-grated kind. It’s more expensive in the long run plus freshly grated Parmesan cheese tastes so much better! Buy yourself the best quality Parmesan cheese you can afford, in a block and grate it as you need. 

See recipe card for quantities.

Instructions

Four step process showing how to make this pasta recipe.
  1. Fry chopped onion and bacon in heated olive oil on a medium heat for 5 minutes until softened. Add the peas and cook on low heat for 4 or 5 minutes.
  2. Add boiling water to the saucepan.
  3. Once the water is boiling, add the pasta, salt and cook for 7-8 minutes.
  4. This dish shouldn’t be soupy or too dry. Stir in the Parmigiano Reggiano cheese and freshly ground black pepper.

Serve with an extra drizzle of extra virgin olive oil 

Substitutions

  • Instead of using a yellow onion, you could substitute it with a white onion, red onion or a few shallots.
  • Try using pancetta instead of bacon for a more traditional Italian flavor.
  • If you don’t have Parmigiano Reggiano (Parmesan cheese) you could use Pecorino Romano, Grana Padano or Manchego instead.

Variations

  • Why not try a spicy version of this pasta with peas by adding red pepper flakes.
  • For added flavor, you could add boiling chicken stock or vegetable stock instead of water. Just be careful not to over salt.
  • If you’d like to make this Italian pasta during the warmer months, why not add a bit of lemon zest and chopped fresh herbs at the end to make it zing!

Storage

This dish is really best made fresh because the starchy pasta water mixed with the cheese becomes the sauce. If you do have any leftovers, I recommend adding a little extra water to the container, before reheating it in the microwave. Any leftover pasta could be a little dry because as it sits in the refrigerator and will soak up the sauce. But it’s still very tasty!

Tips for Success and FAQ’s

A white bowl filled with short pasta noodles and green peas viewed from above.

Just like Goldilocks, you want to make sure this Pasta and Peas recipe is just right. Be careful not to let it dry out but also don’t use too much liquid. It shouldn’t be soupy, but it also shouldn’t be dry.

As with all of my Italian pasta recipes, the pasta should not be over cooked. It should still have a little resistance when you bite into it but no chalky texture. The easiest way to check the pasta is al dente is to try it!

This Italian pasta recipe has very simple flavors, so it is important to salt the dish well. I recommend tasting the pasta as it cooks and seasoning it to your taste. It also helps to use good quality cheese. 

Is Pasta with Peas healthy?

Absolutely! Pasta with Peas, or pasta e piselli, is a healthy and sustaining Italian dish. Frozen peas are a great source of fiber and packed with nutrients. There are no artificial colors or preservatives in this dish, just good quality, real ingredients. 

How to make Pasta and Peas?

My easy recipe for Pasta and Peas is made in one pot so the starchy pasta water becomes the sauce. First you fry the onion, bacon and peas in olive oil, before adding in boiling water and the pasta. As the pasta cooks, it absorbs the water and creates a delicious sauce. 
Unlike recipes that cook the pasta separately and use some of the reserved pasta water to add creaminess, in this recipe none of that is lost.

What do peas go well with?

Peas have a lovely, sweet flavor and go so well with salty bacon or pancetta. I love adding savory Parmigiano Reggiano (Parmesan Cheese) and pepper to contrast with the sweet peas.

Serving Suggestions

Close up of a white bowl filled with cooked small pasta, cubes of bacon and green peas.

I usually serve Pasta and Peas on its own on busy weeknights. But if I have a little more time up my sleeve, I love to serve it with my Cherry Tomato Caprese Salad or with a side of Ciabatta Garlic Bread. And it’s always nice to finish a pasta meal with my Zuppa Inglese

Made this recipe?
Let me know if you liked it by leaving a ★★★★★ star rating and a review below. Don’t forget to subscribe to my newsletter – it’s free!

Pasta and peas in a white bowl on a sky blue napkin.

Pasta And Peas Recipe

Pasta cooked with peas and bacon is a delicious family meal. This traditional Italian dish is made in just one pot, uses basic pantry staples and comes together in less than 30 minutes.
5 from 101 votes
Print Pin Rate
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 18 minutes
Total Time: 28 minutes
Servings:4 people
Author: Marcellina

Ingredients

  • ¼ cup olive oil plus extra to drizzle
  • 1 onion
  • 4 ounces (115 grams) bacon or pancetta
  • 1 pound (450 grams) frozen peas See note 1
  • 2 cups boiling water
  • 10 ounces (300 grams) pasta See note 2
  • Salt and black pepper
  • 2 ounces (60 grams) Parmigiano Reggiano cheese Parmesan cheese

Instructions

  • Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat.
  • Fry the finely chopped onion and bacon/pancetta for 5 minutes until softened.
  • Add the peas and cook on low heat for 4 or 5 minutes.
  • Add boiling water. Bring to a boil. Only then add the pasta
  • Add pasta and 1 teaspoon salt and cook for 7-8 minutes.
  • If the pasta dries out, add a bit more boiling water as needed. Pasta with peas should be neither soupy nor dry. Don’t drain the water!
  • Stir in the Parmigiano Reggiano cheese (Parmesan cheese) and freshly ground black pepper. Taste and adjust seasoning if needed.
  • Serve with an extra drizzle of extra virgin olive oil

Notes

  1. Fresh podded peas can be used instead of frozen.
  2. 10 ounces (or 300 grams)is approximately ⅔ of  a 1 pound (500 grams) pack of pasta.
Tips for Success
  • This pasta dish shouldn’t be soupy, but it also shouldn’t be dry.
  • The pasta should not be over cooked and should still have a little resistance when you bite into it but no chalky texture. Test it by tasting the pasta.
  • Taste and season to your liking. A well salted pasta dish is a tasty dish. This doesn’t mean that it should be over salted – just salt to your taste.
For more tips and information, scroll up and read the post.
Tried this recipe? Give it a star rating and leave a comment below!

Nutritional Estimate Per Serving

Calories: 642kcal | Carbohydrates: 72g | Protein: 33g | Fat: 25g | Saturated Fat: 9g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 11g | Cholesterol: 50mg | Sodium: 1095mg | Potassium: 488mg | Fiber: 9g | Sugar: 10g | Vitamin A: 979IU | Vitamin C: 47mg | Calcium: 221mg | Iron: 3mg

Nutritional Disclaimer

Nutritional information is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. For accurate results, it is recommended that the nutritional information be calculated based on the ingredients and brands you use.

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating




12 Comments

  1. I really loved this dish. I did add pepper flakes . My dish didn’t look as pretty bad yours but it was a wonderful meal. I will keep doing it until I get it to look like yours.

  2. 5 stars
    Eccellente!!
    We love pasta and peas and this is the perfect recipe. It cooked up not too soupy and not too dry:)
    Grazie Marcellina!

  3. 5 stars
    Reminds me of a pasta my mother used to make. Can’t wait to make this pasta and peas, so excited. Thanks for the recipe.

  4. 5 stars
    I love that this pasta uses simple ingredients and is a one-pot dish, which makes it perfect for a quick weeknight dinner. Bookmarking!

  5. 5 stars
    I bought some fresh English peas at trader Joe and used them in this. What a delicious dish!! So simple too.

  6. 5 stars
    I just love how easy this recipe is! And I really appreciate that you emphasize the importance of starchy water. Thank you!

  7. My mum used to make pasta e piselli, we all loved it! I haven’t made it for ages, so I’ll have to cook it again soon. Just looking at the picture makes me hungry!

  8. 5 stars
    This looks so simple and tasty! I’d like to make it tonight for just me and my husband. Can I halved the recipe?

    1. Absolutely, Cynthia! Just click on the servings section and reduce the servings from 4 to 2. This automatically adjusts the quantities. The cooking time will be basically the same. Enjoy!