In Italy we call this dish “Pasta e Piselli”, definitely one of the most prepared main in Naples and its region, where it is very common to mix pasta with legumes. Remember my Pasta e Fagioli (sorry for the horrible pics)? These dishes were once considered food of the poor, now they are well rooted in the tradition and daily routine of the homemade cuisine.
While abroad is almost impossible to find a restaurant serving this dish, in Naples small diners (tavola calda) serving pasta and peas are still very much in vogue. During the week they feed many professionals that don’t have enough time to go back home for their lunch break. The reason of its success is that Pasta and Peas is a very simple dish that meets the taste of everyone, a winning combo, both in terms of taste and nutrients.
In winter I like to make a soupy version of it, while in the summer I keep it more dry, just sauteing pasta with peas and sprinkling with grated cheese. You can use any type of short pasta but my preference goes to spaghetti which I break in smaller pieces before cooking them.
The most traditional cooking method consists in cooking the condiments first, then, after frying, to add some water and pasta. By stirring frequently and cooking with all the other ingredients, pasta releases its starch in the sauce thus making the condiment rather creamy. I highly recommend to try this recipe and, if enjoyed, to prepare it (maybe using whole pasta) instead of more popular pasta recipes containing only cheese and “empty calories” from carbs.
- 250 gr whole spaghetti (half a package)
- 1 Tbsp olive ol
- 1/2 onion, finely chopped
- 2 Tbsp bread crumbs
- 2 clove garlic, minced
- 1 cup petite peas
- 1/2 cup broad beans
- 1/2 cup grated parmesan
- salt, pepper, parsley to taste
- Break spaghetti in pieces. In a medium size sauce pan, heat olive oil over medium heat and add the chopped onion.
- Cook for approximately 4 minutes, then add the minced garlic and cook for about another minute or two.
- Add the peas and broad beans, a small amount of water (1/2 cup) and cook for 5 minutes or so. Add the bread crumbs in the last couple of minutes.
- Add the pasta and more water so to cover everything (do not exaggerate with water, it's better to add less than necessary and adjust later), mix well and let it cook stirring from time to time for at least 6-7 minutes.
- Remove from the stove and let it cool down by stirring continuously.
- Top with grated cheese, pepper and parsley to taste. Serve warm.