Macaroni Peas

May 22, 2013
3 Ratings
Photo by James Ransom
  • Serves 4
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

What You'll Need
  • 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.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Susanna
  • cucina di mammina
    cucina di mammina
  • Fiona
  • Rebecca Cherry
    Rebecca Cherry
  • Transcendancing
I'm the author of a book on the science and history of infancy, Baby Meets World. My website is; I tweet over at @nicksday. And if you need any good playdoh recipes, just ask.

46 Reviews

Susanna March 28, 2017
I am going to try this with ramps as a garnish, just as soon as I can get my hands on some this spring...
cucina D. December 5, 2016
This recipe is pure genius! We love sautéed peas in olive oil and onion, now my famiglia has a gorgeous new way to eat our delicious peas. Bravo e grazie tante😊
Fiona July 12, 2016
Tried this last night and really delicious. Doubled the garlic and added an extra handful or so of cheese, really tasty, straight-forward dinner. Definitely one I'll be making again!
Rebecca C. June 19, 2015
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.
mawhorts June 10, 2015
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.
Transcendancing March 28, 2015
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.
Karen B. February 21, 2015
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.
Shortnsweet February 21, 2015
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).
roryrabbitfield June 11, 2014
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.
Ken W. May 14, 2014
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.
Ken W. May 13, 2014
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.)
Alex M. May 13, 2014
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.
Laura A. May 13, 2014
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.
Alex M. May 2, 2014
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!)
caseymsy April 11, 2014
I couldn't find orrichiette pasta so used medium shells , still came out the same
caseymsy April 11, 2014
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
Kate M. April 10, 2014
Amazing. I actually use garlic salt and comes out great.
caseymsy April 8, 2014
This sounds good, am going to try it tonight.
Jamie P. April 7, 2014
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.
stilllifewithwhisk April 6, 2014
I made this twice last week! Delicious both times.
dwayla April 2, 2014
Would be great with avocado!