Pasta and Peas is on my absolute top 5 La Famiglia’s comfort food list. If you can’t have chicken soup because you’re observing the abstinence of, say, Fridays during Lent, or Christmas Eve, you can bet that there’s gonna be Pasta and Peas.
I loves me all the pasta, from Mac and Cheese from a box (don’t be judgy, now), to cacio e pepe, to pasta all’olio, to Rigatoni Pasta Pie, to regular old Thursday-Night Spaghetti and red sauce. But Pasta and Peas is both a treat and the most humble, satisfying pasta I prepare. By the numbers, this recipe is 3 ingredients, and it takes only as long as you need to boil your pasta. I always make sure that there are two cans of peas in the house because this really, really is equally excellent as a balm for a day full of suck as it is a harbinger of FishFest to meet our religious obligations.
The fancy chef-types in the crowd know that certain pastas are purposefully paired with certain kinds of sauce. There’s a reason why you have fettucini with a brothy clam sauce, and fusilli with a hearty ragu. The pasta for this is no different. Tubetti (or Ditali, it’s big brother) are little tubes, perfect size into which a petit pois can hide. You can probably make it with other small pasta – mini shells, or elbows, perhaps. But I really, really recommend you go for the Ditali. Also, the mangiacakes at the Food network have a similar recipe to this using frozen peas. They’re wrong. Don’t be fooled. I’m not even going to link to it for you. No. This recipe can only be made with canned peas. *Pfft*, silly Muggles.
To the method!
While the water comes to a boil for your pasta, chop 2 or 3 onions. We used two that were a little smaller than tennis balls. The pieces should be similar size to the peas and (cooked) pasta. Sweat down the onion in a small saucepan. When they start to soften (but not brown), add two cans of peas, liquid and everything. Let that warm up over low heat. When the pasta is ready, the peas will be too.
To serve*, put a few ladles of pasta in the bowls, then a ladle of peas on top. Serve with freshly ground pepper and grated Romano (or Parm or Asiago, or Pecorino Peppato) cheese.
*You could mix the pasta and the peas into one pot, but the pasta will soak up the pea…uh… juice. Auntie V puts the Pasta and Peas in a soup tureen to serve it to La Famiglia, and she knows stuff about Pasta and Peas. Still, if this is just for regular weeknight dinner, and you’ve made enough for left-overs (and I recommend this highly), you maybe want to leave them separate. I mean, it’s not ruined if this happens, it’s just that much more satisfying if there’s some liquid in the bowl too.
And that’s it. Easy Peasy.
Give peas a chance (pretty sure that’s what he’s saying, anyway…)