Kid-Friendly Recipes/ Pasta Dishes/ Vegetarian Recipes

Pasta with Baby Peas

This is an oldie but a goodie! Pasta with baby peas is a traditional Italian pasta dish made with a simple sauce by simmering together mini pasta and baby peas,  commonly known as Pasta Piselli.   It’s very flavorful, easy to make and one your family will love!  
Small pasta is directly cooked with peas that has been sautéed and flavored with onions, red pepper flakes, fresh parsley and extra-virgin olive oil.  It’s an all-in-one pasta dish!  It has been, and still is a favorite in our house.  We love it because it’s one dish you can quickly whip up on any weeknight; and it’s another way to use your peas and get the kids to eating them too! 

Growing up as kids, our mother often made pasta with various vegetables, because quite frankly, we didn’t like eating vegetables at all, but we loved pasta.  She made dinner fun and enjoyable for the entire family just by using small pastas like elbows, mini shells, ditalini, and even broken spaghetti with this recipe. Genius of mom!

Through the years, she has whipped up some fabulous recipes for pasta with vegetables!  And, for a healthier twist, try adding multi grain pasta, whole grain pasta, or even gluten-free pastas with this recipe. 
If you are planning to make this pasta dish for small children and babies (6 and under), omit the red pepper flakes.
Here’s a great tip:  
When you make our sweet baby peas as a side dish for dinner, and you have extra leftover, you can easily whip up this pasta piselli dish with the remaining peas the very next day!!  You will have to adjust the amount of water, depending on how much peas you have leftover.  It is one-pan pasta dish for those busy nights, making clean up even easier! 
Pasta with Baby Peas
  • 1 lb. any small pasta -(ditalini, or elbows pasta)
  • 1 lb. frozen Sweet Baby Peas -rinsed
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 large sweet onion – finely chopped
  • 1/8 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes or a pinch of cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 cup fresh Italian parsley – finely chopped
  • 3/4 tsp. salt
  • 4 cups water, and extra (about 1/4 cup)
  • fresh ground pepper to taste
  • grated Parmesan cheese, for serving
In a 3 or 4 quart-size sauce pot.
Sauté onions with olive oil on medium-low heat, for about 10 minutes. 
Stir in the crushed red pepper flakes for about 1 minute.
Add frozen baby peas.
Stir for about 2 to 3 minutes, to flavor the peas. 
Pour in 4 cups of water.  Add the parsley and salt and cover.
Bring to boil and simmer the peas in water for 20 minutes.
Add the mini pasta, I used the ditalini pasta.  Raise the heat to medium-high. 
Uncover and cook the pasta for 6 to 7 minutes, until al-dente and tender to the bite.  Stirring often.  As the pasta cooks the water will be absorbed. 
Season with salt and pepper to taste.
If the water has been absorbed entirely, and you need to add extra water to continue to cook the pasta, then do so.  Add an additional 1/4 cup of water.
When pasta is tender, turn off the heat.  Ladle the pasta with peas into your pasta bowls.  Serve with some grated parmigiano-reggiano cheese at the table. 
Serves 4 to 6

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  • Reply
    Kitchen Belleicious
    September 19, 2011 at 1:26 pm

    I do this sometimes for my son and he loves it!~ So delicious- love the pasta shape you chose!

  • Reply
    September 25, 2011 at 3:03 am

    Thanks Denise for pointing that out, and yes it was a typo, its 25 minutes.

    Thanks Jessica! Even broken spaghetti and elbows work nicely!

  • Reply
    January 1, 2014 at 11:00 pm

    This dish is such a throwback from my childhood!!

  • Reply
    Dan from Platter Talk
    January 2, 2014 at 2:53 am

    Simple and wonderful, great post, Ladies!! Wishing you and your families the very best in 2014!

    • Reply
      January 3, 2014 at 5:46 pm

      Thanks Dan, and the same to you!! Happy New Year!

  • Reply
    Alfredo D'Agostino
    April 9, 2018 at 4:48 pm

    One important note: never, ever use Barilla pasta. It is, in my opinion, inedible. It does not have a good flavor, and no matter how you cook it or how long, it has a tough and mealy texture. Just one first generation Italian-American’s opinion. 🙂

    • Reply
      by Anna and Liz
      May 21, 2018 at 1:45 pm

      Thanks Alfredo! Since that post, we too have switched to different brands of pasta and look primarily for fresh and homemade – when we can find them.

      • Reply
        Alfredo D'Agostino
        May 21, 2018 at 2:11 pm

        Yes, there’s nothing like homemade 🙂

        PS: love the site!

        • Reply
          by Anna and Liz
          June 8, 2018 at 3:53 pm

          Thank you for your sweet comment!

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