Pasta and peas (or “pasta e piselli” as we call it in Italy) it’s a Neapolitan classic dish. It can be cooked in under 30 minutes and it is a simple but, at the same time, very tasty recipe. Here’s some info & how to make it:
Very popular healthy dish from Naples
This, like the pasta e fagioli, is another great example of the pasta & legumes family of plates, the results of an affordable way of eating a balanced diet which included the right amount of calories and specially proteins, when (and where) there used to be scarcity of it.
It is healthy due to the ingredients used, and simple considering that with just five ingredients (or even four, if you give for granted that Olive Oil should be kind of always included in Mediterranean cuisine) you have a complete meal in under 30 mins.
Also, the recipe here is basically a vegetarian one but you can immediately make it vegan by not using the cheese or – in the opposite direction – just have a carnivorous version by adding some pancetta.
Oh, and did I mention that it will only take one pot to make it?
Let’s see how to make it like a Neapolitan!
Pasta and Peas
- 1 large pot
- 500 gr fresh peas (shelled) or 450 gr frozen
- 500 gr pasta (tubetti, paternostri) or spaghetti, broken into small pieces
- 5 spring onions or 1 big white onion
- 5 tbsp olive oil extra virgin
- 4 tbsp grated Parmesan or grated Pecorino
- Warm the olive oil in the pot. Add the sliced onions and sauté until soft & golden.
- Add water, peas and salt. Stir with a wooden spoon, bring it to the boil and let it cook over a medium heat for 18 to 20 minutes (10 mins for frozen peas).
- Once the peas are cooked, add the pasta directly into the pot. Make sure that there is enough water to cover the pasta. If necessary add more boiling water. Cook it for the time it says on the pasta package minus 3 mins.
- Once reached that time, turn off the stove and leave it to rest for those 3 minutes, covered. After that add black pepper and half the parmesan. Give it a stir.
- Sprinkle each plate with more parmesan and serve.
- With Pancetta: add it, finely diced, at step 1.
- Use Basil: this herb will go very well with it – add it at step 4.
- When adding the pasta you noticed that there’s not enough water? No problem, just add some boiling water to cover up the pasta again.
- It shouldn’t be a soup/broth nor too dry – just look at the picture in step 5, above, for an example.
- The first times it might be challenging to cook pasta this way, because it might come too dry or too much liquid, but eventually following the recipe above you should be able to make it properly. This technique or skill, will be very useful for other pasta dishes.
All sort really: fresh, frozen, canned or dried. But please note that the cooking time will change accordingly.
The canned peas are already cooked and will save you 18 to 20 minutes.
Basically, just add them together with the pasta (joining point 2 & point 3 of the recipe, above). You’l get a ready meal in up to 15 mins (sauteing the onion + cooking time of chosen pasta).
The dried ones will take longer, so add 45 minutes (spit peas) to 1 hour (whole peas) at point 2. Oh, and don’t forget 1-2 hrs soaking time!
You can use all sorts of “short-cut pasta“: tubetti, ditali e ditalini, paternostri, conchiglie (shells) broken spaghetti, broken bucatini, etc…
No. This pasta doesn’t lend itself to freezing.