Macaroni Peas

By • May 22, 2013 43 Comments

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Author Notes: From River Cottage Veg, by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, who recommends garnishing with fresh basil and parsley. But if you want to amp up the flavor, I'd recommend adding bacon or cooked ham, or garnishing with chopped toasted almonds.Nicholas Day

Serves 4

  • 1 pound shelled small peas, fresh or frozen
  • 10 ounces pasta, in a small shape (like macaroni, fusilli, orecchiette)
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1 garlic clove, chopped
  • 1/4 cup parmesan, coarsely grated
  1. Put on a large pot of salted water on to boil. Then put the peas in a separate saucepan and add water to just cover. Bring to a boil and cook until just tender -- a couple of minutes. Drain the peas -- but reserve their cooking water.
  2. Add the pasta to the pot of boiling water and cook until al dente. Meanwhile, melt the butter in a small pan over low heat; add the garlic and cook gently for several minutes. Remove from the heat.
  3. Put half the cooked peas in a blender with 6 tablespoons of their cooking water, the butter and garlic, and the grated cheese. Puree until smooth, adding more cooking water if necessary. Combine with the remaining (whole) peas and season liberally with salt and pepper.
  4. Drain the pasta and toss with the hot pea sauce. Serve with more grated cheese and salt and pepper to taste.

More Great Recipes: Pasta|Entrees

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Comments (43) Questions (0)


2 months ago Rebecca Cherry

Agreed. this is one of those surprise dishes - the type that sound good, anyway, but, taste even better. Of course, sprinklings of browned proscuitto and sautéed scallion scapes (yes, scallion not garlic) kicked it up a notch for us.


3 months ago mawhorts

I've made and enjoyed this several times now - it has become a regular pantry meal for me also. I've found that the sauce freezes fairly well, so I usually make a double batch and freeze half, then defrost and add the fresh herbs. This time I added lemon zest and a little lemon juice in addition to the recommended basil, which gave it exactly the zing I was looking for.


5 months ago Transcendancing

This was gorgeous, I also doubled the garlic and it was just fantastic. I'm tempted to try it putting mint in the water to make minted peas. Simple, vegetarian deliciousness that is pretty much a 'pantry' meal (where peas in the freezer are a pantry equivalent). Love it.


6 months ago Karen Brooks

My husband will eat peas with anything. I am not a big fan of peas. We both liked this dish. I increased the garlic to 2 cloves, used 1/3 cup Parmesan-Reggiano and added some browned pancetta.


6 months ago Shortnsweet

Yummy overall, but for me this was missing another dimension of flavor, something to offset the sweetness of the peas. I tossed in some prosciutto which added a nice smokiness, maybe next time I'll add more (I used only about 2 oz).


about 1 year ago roryrabbitfield

I made this dish last week and it was terrific. Next time I'll probably reduce the butter because I don't think it added a lot to the dish; I think leaving it out would not make a difference. My kids wouldn't eat it the first time around but they were intrigued and they said they would try it next time around. If so, this will be in our regular rotation.


over 1 year ago Ken Woytisek

Alex, where is it that I said, "some commentators must have used not so good quality ingredients, like peas that have been frozen too long"? And it what way is this a "classic dish?' The notion is ludicrous. As for the nutrional aspect, good savvy cooks know when the butter can be replaced with good olive oil and take an easy hand with the cheese. I am sorry that you took my comments on such as personal level. I do agree to disagree with you -on many levels.


over 1 year ago Ken Woytisek

I agree Laura, this is a good dish but not a great dish. I think some commentators were being a little over-enthusiastic by saying it's "restaurant quality." The fact is that it was never intended to be served in a restaurant. It's a SIMPLE nutritious dish that can be prepared in a short time. Also, if you look at the comment thread lots of people added ingredients that were not called for (cooks cannot just leave things alone!) As to what happened after you let it sit for an hour I can only wonder. Did you let it sit warm after saucing? I think that's the most likely thing. Try making the sauce first and cooking your pasta just before serving (that's what I did.)


over 1 year ago Alex Myagkova

Some of the most successful restaurants (at least in Chicago) serve simple recipes with the highest quality ingredients, which can be achieved with this classic dish. "Some commentators" must have used not so good quality ingredients, like peas that might have been frozen too long. Also, the dish is actually not that nutritious given that it's main ingredients include butter cheese and white pasta. Agree to disagree about the recipe, but your attempt to not single out other users was poor.


over 1 year ago Laura Abbasi

I am really surprised people thought this was so good, even going so far as to say it was restaurant quality. I followed recipe to a T. When I test tasted it, it was good, but not outstanding. However, I was not able to immediately serve so it sat for an hour, during which time it completely disintegrated into a green, dry mush. It was so bad I considered pureeing it to make baby food.


over 1 year ago Alex Myagkova

This is so simple and absolutely delicious...not to mention it looks (and tasted) like a restaurant quality dish when nicely plated. HUGE hit with friends and family. Also, I used the pea "puree" form this recipe (with less water) on a pizza topped with ramps and this was also superb (again, huge hit with guests!)


over 1 year ago caseymsy

I couldn't find orrichiette pasta so used medium shells , still came out the same


over 1 year ago caseymsy

Made this the other night. Delish!!!!!! Had some over so next day fried it up and added extra cheese and eggs. This is good for a quick meal


over 1 year ago Kate Makarin

Amazing. I actually use garlic salt and comes out great.


over 1 year ago caseymsy

This sounds good, am going to try it tonight.


over 1 year ago Jamie Pitt Miller

Made this and loved it. I think for summer it might be interesting to add some mint and maybe a fresh dollop of ricotta on top.


over 1 year ago stilllifewithwhisk

I made this twice last week! Delicious both times.


over 1 year ago dwayla

Would be great with avocado!


over 1 year ago dwayla

Wow! Followed recipe as closely as my pantry allowed--easy and delicious! Thirteen-month old approved, too. Start to finish in the amount of time it took to cook the pasta.


over 1 year ago Amanda {Striped Spatula}

Simple, fresh, and beautiful. Looks like spring!


over 1 year ago Jen

Any tips on how to keep orecchiette separated? I love it, but no matter what I do, I have trouble keeping the little suckers from sticking to each other.


over 1 year ago maeveoh

Salt the water way more than you think you need to and stir more than usual!


over 1 year ago Nicole Snyder

You can also drizzle a bit of olive oil into the boiling water right before you add the pasta in and this will keep them separated. Adding a bit of oil to them after you drain them also helps.