This Pea Pasta is a quick and easy weeknight meal that uses a few simple ingredients to create something delicious.
The peas are cooked in a little broth with plenty of olive oil and garlic until they are tender and sweet. This simple sauce is then tossed with pasta and sprinkled with a bit of crispy bacon and some grated parmesan. So yummy and so easy!
You can use any pasta you like for this recipe, so it is a great standby for when there is very little food in the fridge!
Making a sauce with frozen peas
Frozen peas are such a great ingredient! They keep forever in the freezer (well, I am sure they don't, but it sure feels like it!!), and they defrost within a few minutes. Sweet delicious peas that add a pop of green to meals like Bangers and Mash with Brown Gravy, or a Seared Steak and Garlic Potatoes.
BUT I love to make peas the star of the show!
To make a quick and easy pea sauce for your pasta, grab some frozen peas, add them to a pan with a little broth (chicken or veggie works) slice in a few large garlic cloves, add a good slug of olive oil, some butter and let everything come to a simmer. The peas will defrost, the garlic will mellow, and the stock will reduce. This all happens while the pasta is cooking!
Once the pasta is almost cooked, reserve 2 cups of the pasta water, drain the pasta and add it to the simple pea sauce. The pasta will finish cooking in the sauce, soaking up the sweet pea and garlic flavors, thin with a little pasta cooking water, add some parmesan and serve with more parmesan, some bacon and a good sprinkle of black pepper.
What pasta to use?
The beauty of this dish is it works with any shape pasta. Long noodles will twist and turn around the peas so you can pick a spaghetti, linguine, fettuccine or pappardelle (as shown in the photos).
Or grab a pasta shape and use a spoon to scoop the pasta and peas into your mouth. Farfalle, penne, rigatoni, or spiral pasta works well.
Bacon or guanciale
First let's talk about the bacon. This isn't a vegetarian pasta as there is some bacon in the dish, but it is there to add a little salty hint; this is pasta with peas and a hint of bacon, not a bacon and pea pasta. Feel free to add more bacon or leave it out altogether.
For ease, I have crispy bacon bits in my fridge at all times!! They are great for adding to salads, soups, or in fact, anything! Most things are better with a little bacon!
Must share my homemade bacon bits with you! But feel free to use storebought bacon bits!
In Italy (where Stew first ate it) this pasta would be made with guanciale, which is salted and cured pigs cheek. It has a stronger salty flavor than bacon or pancetta, but the texture of softer and more delicate. When cooked, the fat melts away, adding so much to the sauce. Because guanciale is hard to find, we are using bacon bits here, and we replace that missing fat with olive oil and butter.
What wine to serve with Pea Pasta
Peas are an excellent ingredient to pair wine with; they are sweet and grassy and have that savory sweetness that I love and that I find works so well with wine.
For white lovers, go for an Italian Pinot Grigio, they are crisp and sharp and can cut through the richness of the olive oil and cheese.
If you are looking for red wine, then pick a southern hemisphere Pinot Noir. The touch of acidity and background fruitiness works so well with the peas.
For more delicious easy pasta recipes try:
- Spaghetti alla Puttanesca
- Bacon Shrimp Pasta
- Creamy Tomato Chicken and Chorizo Pasta
- Creamy Chicken Gnocchi with Spinach
- Easy Garlic Bacon Pasta
- Creamy Chicken Chili Pasta
- See all 70+ pasta recipes
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- 1 lb pasta - see note 1
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 3 cups frozen peas
- 1 ½ cup broth - see note 2
- 5 garlic cloves - thinly sliced
- ½ tsp salt
- ¼ tsp black pepper
- 2 tbsp butter
- 1 cup freshly grated parmesan
- 1 cup crispy bacon bits - see note 3
- Bring a large pan of water to a boil for the pasta.
- Salt the water generously (at least 1 tablespoon) and add the pasta, set the timer for 1 minute less than the packet suggests.
1 tablespoon salt
- While the pasta is cooking, add the olive oil, frozen peas, broth, sliced garlic, salt, and pepper into a skillet. Place over medium-high heat and bring to a simmer. Cook for 5 minutes until the peas are soft. (there will still be plenty of broth left in the pan)
3 tbsp olive oil
3 cups frozen peas
1 ½ cup broth
5 garlic cloves - thinly sliced
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp black pepper
- Use a large measuring cup to reserve 2 cups of the pasta cooking water, then drain the pasta and add it to the peas. Cook over medium heat, turning the pasta over in the broth to finish cooking.
- Add the butter and the parmesan, and continue to stir.
2 tbsp butter
1 cup grated parmesan
- If the pasta starts to look dry, add ¼ cup (or more) of the pasta cooking water.
- Taste the dish, adding more salt and pepper if needed, and then serve sprinkled with the bacon bits and extra parmesan.
1 cup bacon bits
extra parmesan -to serve
- You can use any pasta shape you like here: spaghetti, linguine, fettuccine or pappardelle (as shown in the photos), farfalle, penne, rigatoni, or spiral pasta works well.
- Use vegetable or chicken broth/stock.
- I use storebought bacon bits, but you can fry off your own bacon if you prefer. (Then use the bacon drippings in place of the butter!)