Macaroni Peas

By • May 22, 2013 • 38 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.
Jump to Comments (38)

Tags: pasta

Comments (38) Questions (0)

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3 months 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.

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4 months 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.

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4 months 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.)

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4 months 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.

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4 months 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.

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5 months 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!)

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5 months ago caseymsy

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

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5 months 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

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5 months ago Kate Makarin

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

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5 months ago caseymsy

This sounds good, am going to try it tonight.

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6 months 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.

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6 months ago stilllifewithwhisk

I made this twice last week! Delicious both times.

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6 months ago dwayla

Would be great with avocado!

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6 months 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.

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6 months ago Amanda at Striped Spatula

Simple, fresh, and beautiful. Looks like spring!

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6 months 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.

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6 months ago maeveoh

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

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4 months 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.

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6 months ago AnneHD

The three of us, including the 22 mo toddlerette, love this recipe. To make it even simpler, we sauté all the peas in the butter, then use half of them to make the sauce (using pasta water) with an immersion blender. We add crumbled bacon, but (unlike my husband) I don't think this is essential to enjoying this dish.

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8 months ago Karishma Daga

I didn't have any parmesan on me, so I used jalapeño cheddar and ricotta cheese instead. To add some heat, I cooked the garlic with a lot of hot chili flakes to get some heat. It came out delicious! I'll definitely be making it again.

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about 1 year ago Mariah Gallagher

This turned out exceptionally well. It was even good the next day for lunch (though warmed not cold). I did use the full box (16oz) of pasta (still had plenty of sauce) and used the stick blender to puree. We added grilled bacon, the smoky flavor went great. Thanks for the recipe...a nice twist for pasta.

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about 1 year ago maeveoh

Seeming to notice that all of my favorite pasta recipes invariably include, garlic, parmesan, olive oil or butter, and a Star Vegetable.

This looks so delicious!

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about 1 year ago insane passions

Awesome recipe - the simple recipes are always the best! I've made it a few times now and my kids love it. I've been adding spinach to the puree little by little to broaden their palette and the sweetness of the peas is always enough to win them over. The sauce itself can be thinned out with chicken stock and/or milk to make a pea/spinach soup. This is an exceptionally versatile dish. So glad you submitted it.