Foodie, Recipes


By The Clever Meal

This easy and flavorful Italian pasta with peas is a simple yet delicious one-pot meal that uses minimal ingredients and is ready in less than 15 minutes. You’re going to love this!


(Note: This is a quick description; the full recipe is at the bottom of the page.)

  • Saute diced onion in olive oil for about 5 minutes to build the flavor base.
  • Add the peas.
  • Stir in the vegetable broth and pasta and bring to a boil.
  • Reduce to a simmer, and cook gently until the pasta gradually absorbs the water and releases its starch. Stir often, adding extra water if needed.
  • Finish with freshly grated parmesan cheese and stir well until melted.

Look below how the starch and the cheese make your pasta nice and glossy! Ladle into bowls and serve with extra parmesan cheese; it will be delicious with some crusty Italian breadblack pepper focaccia, or garlic bread on the side. Buon appetito!



Flavor base: The recipe starts with onion sauteed in olive oil until soft and sweet.

Pasta: Short pasta shapes such as shells, ditaloni, or fusilli work well for this one-pot method.

Peas: You can use either fresh or convenient frozen peas. I prefer using frozen peas for this pasta recipe because they are available all year round, save me time, and are packed with vitamins, protein, and antioxidants just like fresh peas. I reserve fresh peas for other recipes, such as delicious crostini.

Broth: I use low-sodium vegetable broth. Begin with the specified amount of liquid in the recipe and gradually add more as needed. You can use water or your favorite broth, but add the salt at the end of the cooking time.

Parmesan: It adds so much flavor. I recommend using freshly grated parmesan that melts well and tastes much better than store-bought grated cheese. 

Salt & pepper: I recommend adjusting the seasoning to taste before serving.


Yes, peas are a low-fat legume naturally high in protein and fiber, which makes you feel full for longer. They are also a good source of minerals, vitamins, and antioxidants.


  1. Use a large and thick pot. The pasta and peas should be heated evenly so nothing sticks to the pot’s bottom. I used a cast iron Dutch oven.
  2. The liquid-to-pasta ratio should be just right. The excess liquid should be absorbed by the time the pasta is cooked. Remember that 2 cups is an estimate; depending on the shape of the pasta, you might need more or less liquid.
  3. Simmer your pasta. The liquid is minimized and is added gradually to the pasta, which absorbs it entirely and releases its starch. The more starch, the better.
  4. Stir often. Don’t walk away, but stir frequently until the water is absorbed, and you’ll be rewarded with a delicious pot of saucy pasta.
  5. Adjust the seasoning. Before serving, make sure the flavors pop. And don’t skip the parmesan cheese.


Add-ins such as diced ham, bacon, or pancetta are very popular in Italy for this pasta with peas. If you want a non-vegetarian option, choose one of these types of meats and add it to the pot when you add the diced onion. Approximately 1/3 cup of diced meat is enough for the amount of pasta stated in the recipe.


Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days, but they tend to stick together. Reheat on the stove or in the microwave with a bit of olive oil to revive the peas and the pasta. It’s not suitable for freezing.


  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1 lb (450 grams) Peas, fresh or frozen
  • 2 cups (480 ml) low-sodium vegetable broth or water, plus more if needed*
  • ½ lb (220 grams Short shaped pasta (shells, elbows, ditaloni…)
  • ½ cup (50 grams) grated parmesan cheese, plus more to serve
  • salt & pepper, to taste


  • Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the diced onion and cook until it has softened and turned translucent, about 5 minutes.
  • Add the peas and broth, raise the heat, bring to a boil, and stir in pasta and salt (I use 1 tsp of salt, and then I adjust the seasoning at the end).
  • Reduce the heat, bring to a simmer, cover with a lid, and cook your pasta in the starchy water. During the cooking time, stir often until the water is absorbed; otherwise, it will stick to the bottom. The water should barely cover the pasta, but that’s fine; add extra water gradually only if needed.
  • Cook until the pasta is done but firm to the bite. The remaining liquid should be minimal at this point. Turn off the heat and stir in freshly grated parmesan cheese until melted and combined with the pasta and peas. Taste and adjust the seasoning if desired.
  • Serve immediately with a drizzle of olive oil, black pepper, and extra parmesan cheese if you like. Enjoy!


Liquid: 2 cups of broth or water is an estimate. You might need to add or reduce the amount of water according to the type of pasta. However, pasta should be partially covered in water.