Pasta with Peas

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Written By Omph impha

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This flavorful pasta with peas is a quick and easy meal that comes together in just 20 minutes! It’s got a bright flavor from lemon and a satisfying, creamy texture from mashed peas.

Peas may have been an underappreciated vegetable in the past. But what’s not to love about this bright and beautiful veggie? With all the spring vegetables popping, I’ve been craving a simple way to eat peas. Enter this easy pasta with peas recipe, ready in just 20 minutes with a small handful of ingredients!

Alex and I are excited about this recipe because it’s hard to find a simple pasta that incorporates fiber and protein. This mighty legume does both: and tastes incredible with garlic, lemon, and Pecorino cheese! It shines in spring, but since it’s made with frozen peas you can make it anytime.

Jump to the recipe—now.

What we love about this bright, zingy pasta with peas

This pasta with peas recipe is a simple pasta recipe we created using frozen peas. You’ll mash some of the peas with capers, lemon, garlic, and Pecorino cheese to make a creamy sauce, then add additional peas and garnish with more Pecorino. It turns out fresh, zingy and positively delightful.

To be clear, it’s not pasta e piselli, which is a whole different thing entirely! That’s a traditional Italian dish starring both pasta and green peas. This classic recipe is more brothy, almost like a soup.

We wanted to create a recipe that was more pasta and less soup, and this rendition was born! Alex and I were pleasantly surprised on how fun this concept is and how quickly it came together. (It was his brainchild, so I can’t take all the credit!)

A few ingredient notes

Here are the ingredients you’ll need for this pasta with peas rendition, with some notes on what kind of substitutions work here.

  • Frozen peas: Frozen peas are a freezer staple that is easy to access all year long. If you have access to fresh green peas, this recipe would be fantastic! Simply boil the fresh peas for 1 minute before making this recipe, since frozen peas are blanched before flash freezing.
  • Olive oil: Extra virgin olive oil helps to sauté the garlic and make a creamy sauce.
  • Pecorino Romano cheese: Pecorino has the best salty, aged flavor and is worth seeking out (you can find it at most grocery stores in America!). Substitute Parmesan plus a few more pinches salt, or vegan Parmesan cheese and additional salt for vegan. 
  • Garlic: Fresh garlic makes the flavors sing.
  • Capers: Capers are sold in thin jars near olives in the grocery store. They add a briny pop of salt to the recipe and are important to include.
  • Lemon zest: The zest brings a citrusy zing to this recipe: it’s another required element!
  • Short pasta of choice: You can use any type of short pasta. We love it with cavatelli, which means “little hollows” in Italian (shown below). Other short pasta shapes that work well are orecchiette, penne, rigatoni, or fusilli.
Dry cavatelli pasta.

Pro tip: save that pasta water!

In many Italian pasta recipes, you’ll use some of the pasta water to create a creamy sauce: but we often forget and drain the pasta without thinking! A good trick for remembering to save out the pasta water? Once you start the pasta, place the strainer in the sink and a liquid measuring cup inside the strainer. It will remind you before you drain the pasta!

A few more notes for making the recipe

Here are a few notes for when you go to make this recipe:

  • This recipe requires mashing the peas with a potato masher to create a chunky sauce. For a creamier texture, you can blend the peas in a processor before adding them to the skillet. Feel free to adjust the amount of lemon juice and zest to your liking, depending on how bright and citrusy you prefer the dish.
  • Don’t forget the garnish here! Another drizzle of olive oil adds richness, and garnishing with a bit of Pecorino helps to bring that cheese flavor forward. It’s important for achieving the final flavor.
Pasta with peas on plate with serving spoon, peas, and lemons.

Leftover storage and serving size notes

This pasta with peas recipe is best made right before serving, because the flavors most fresh and zingy right away! As the pasta cools and after storage, it starts to lose a bit of the flavor and texture.

You can store leftovers if you have them: they last up to 2 days refrigerated. Reheat leftovers in a skillet with a drizzle of olive oil, another pinch of salt, and more Pecorino cheese.

A few more peas recipes

Did you try this recipe? Let us know in the comments: we hope you love it!

There are so many fun ways to use green peas! This underappreciated legume adds both protein and fiber to meals, making it great for serving with pasta. Here are a few more peas recipes to try:

01

Peas with Lemon

This peas recipe takes just 5 minutes! Cooking frozen peas with garlic and lemon makes an easy side dish everyone…

Peas recipe

02

Pasta Primavera

This vibrant pasta primavera recipe bursts with fresh veggies, tossed in a creamy sauce and ready in just over 30…

Pasta Primavera

03

10 Tasty Peas Recipes

Here are all the best peas recipes for using this healthy green veggie! This list of pastas, soups, and salads…

Peas recipe

Dietary notes

This pasta with peas recipe is vegetarian. For gluten-free, use gluten-free or legume pasta. For vegan, use vegan Parmesan cheese.

Print

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Description

This flavorful pasta with peas is a quick and easy meal that comes together in just 20 minutes! It’s got a bright flavor from lemon and a satisfying, creamy texture from mashed peas.


  • 8 ounces short pasta (we like cavatelli)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 ½ cups frozen peas, thawed for about a minute under warm water, divided
  • 1 ½ tablespoons capers, drained
  • ¼ teaspoon dried thyme
  • ½ cup grated Pecorino Romano cheese*
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • Zest of 1 lemon (optional)
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste


  1. Cook the pasta in heavily salted water until al dente, according to the package instructions (check a few minutes before and taste to assess doneness). Reserve ½ cup of pasta water before draining**.
  2. Meanwhile, in a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Sauté the garlic for 30 seconds. Add 1 ½ cups of the peas, capers, dried thyme and ¼ teaspoon kosher salt, and sauté for about 3 minutes until they’re bright green and tender.
  3. Turn off the heat. Add ¼ cup of reserved pasta water and use a fork or a potato masher to lightly mash the peas in the skillet, creating a chunky mixture. Add the remaining 1 cup peas and stir until warmed through.
  4. Once the pasta is cooked, drain and add it to the skillet with the Pecorino, lemon zest, lemon juice, capers, and kosher salt and black pepper. Toss to combine, adding a splash of the reserved pasta water if needed to achieve a creamy consistency.
  5. Season with salt to taste and freshly ground black pepper to taste. Serve warm, garnished with a drizzle of olive oil (required) and additional grated Pecorino cheese (optional). Leftovers last up to 2 days refrigerated, but it tastes best fresh. 

Notes

*Pecorino has the best salty, aged flavor and is worth seeking out. Substitute Parmesan plus a few more pinches salt, or vegan Parmesan cheese for vegan. 

**A good trick for remembering to save out the pasta water? Once you start the pasta, place the strainer in the sink and a liquid measuring cup inside the strainer. It will remind you before you drain the pasta!

Notes: For a creamier texture, you can blend the peas in a processor before adding them to the skillet. Feel free to adjust the amount of lemon juice and zest to your liking, depending on how bright and citrusy you prefer the dish.

Add ins: This recipe can be easily customized by adding other vegetables, such as sautéed spinach or asparagus, or by topping with crispy pancetta or prosciutto for a salty, meaty flavor.

  • Category: Pasta
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Pasta
  • Diet: Vegetarian

Keywords: Pasta with peas

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