Bookmark this simple pasta dish with peas and pesto! It is perfect for busy weeknights and you’ll be glad to have it. I’m so glad to have found this recipe in Gaby Dalkin’s latest book, Take It Easy. She sent me the book when it came out last fall and this recipe has saved us from ordering take-out several nights since then.
This pasta with peas and pesto comes together in under 30 minutes with basic ingredients and minimal fuss. It’s designed for frozen peas and it’s great with store-bought pesto. I can make this recipe with a toddler running around the kitchen, which really says something, if you know what I mean. Grace enjoyed the leftovers for lunch today.
I love how this recipe comes together with just one pot and one bowl. To make it, you’ll bring a large pot of salted water to boil for the noodles. In the meantime, you can quickly defrost frozen peas in a colander by running cool water over them in the sink.
The peas taste so fresh and nice because they are not cooked. Gaby simply instructs us to whisk together a sauce of olive oil, lemon, garlic and Pecorino Romano cheese. Then we mash up about half of the peas into the sauce, leaving the rest whole. Add the warm pasta to temper the garlic, stir in some pesto, and your dinner is almost ready to go. Thank you for this one, Gaby!
A Few Recipe Tips and Notes
You’ll find the full recipe below and it’s gloriously simple. Here are a few tips that might come in helpful:
Many pasta shapes will work. Ideally, choose a shorter pasta noodle with little nooks and crannies that can catch the peas. Options include reginetti or mafaldine (shown), fusilli, farfalle or papillon, shells, trumpets, or orecchiette. Whole wheat noodles and sturdy gluten-free noodles work well in this recipe. I used whole grain reginetti by Sfoglini, which I purchase at Whole Foods.
This recipe is designed for frozen peas. Once defrosted, they are already tender and mash easily. Defrost the frozen peas in the refrigerator for several hours or overnight, or simply place them in a colander and run cool water over them for 3 to 6 minutes. Gaby’s original recipe specified two cups of frozen peas (one 10-ounce bag), but if you love to maximize your vegetable intake like I do, you can use up to three cups (one 16-ounce bag).
Store-bought pesto is fine, or make your own pesto if you have the time. You’ll need up to 1/2 cup for this recipe. I like the Artisola organic refrigerated brand.
This recipe yields a lot (six generous servings). Bring the extra to your friends or cut the recipe in half, if desired. It keeps well in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
To make this dish more substantial, add a few dollops of ricotta to individual serving bowls or top them with fried eggs. You’ll find salad and side dish suggestions below.
Watch How to Make Pasta with Peas
What to Serve with this Pea Pasta
- Colorful Roasted Vegetables: Roast these vibrant vegetables while you cook your pasta. The more veggies, the better!
- Easy Tomato Salad: This tomato salad is simple to prepare and will liven up your plate of green pasta.
- Italian Dressing or Classic Vinaigrette: Improvise a green salad with either of these oil-based dressings.
- Super Simple Arugula Salad: Or make my go-to arugula salad, which is truly so simple that it’s ready in under two minutes.
More Fresh Green Pasta Dishes
If you love this simple pasta dish, try one of these next:
- Cilantro-Pepita Pesto with Squash Ribbons and Fettuccine
- Green Goddess Tortellini Salad
- Lemony Green Pasta with Peas and Ricotta
- Pesto Pasta Salad
- Summertime Pasta Salad with Tomatoes, Corn and Jalapeño Pesto
Please let me know how your recipe turns out in the comments! I love hearing from you.
Pasta with Peas and Pesto
- Prep Time: 15 minutes
- Cook Time: 10 minutes
- Total Time: 25 minutes
- Yield: 6 servings 1x
- Category: Pasta
- Method: Cooked
- Cuisine: Italian
- Diet: Vegetarian
This easy pasta recipe features peas and pesto. It’s made with basic ingredients (frozen peas and store-bought pesto) and tastes fantastic! Keep this recipe in your back pocket for busy weeknights. Recipes serves 6.
- 4 cloves garlic, pressed or finely chopped
- ⅓ cup (1 ounce) finely grated Pecorino Romano or Parmesan cheese, plus more for garnish
- ⅓ cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 lemons, 1 juiced and 1 thinly sliced into rounds
- ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes, optional
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- 10 to 16 ounces (2 to 3 cups) frozen peas, completely thawed*
- 16 ounces short-cut pasta**
- ⅓ cup to ½ cup pesto, homemade or jarred
- Fresh basil leaves, for garnish
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the garlic, cheese, oil, lemon juice, red pepper flakes (if using), a couple pinches of salt, and plenty of black pepper.
- Add the thawed peas and stir to combine. Taste and adjust the salt and pepper as needed. Use the back of a fork to roughly mash just half of the peas, and leave the other half whole.
- Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to boil and cook the pasta according to the package instructions. Drain and toss the pasta with the smashed peas and a few large spoonfuls of pesto. Taste, and add more salt and pepper if necessary.
- Top with the basil, lemon slices, and a light grating of cheese before serving.
Recipe lightly adapted from Take It Easy by Gaby Dalkin.
*How to thaw frozen peas: Defrost the frozen peas in the refrigerator for several hours or overnight, or simply place them in a colander and run cool water over them for 3 to 6 minutes.
**Pasta suggestions: Ideally, choose a shorter pasta noodle that has little nooks and crannies that can catch the peas. Options include reginetti (shown), mafaldine, fusilli, farfalle or papillon, shells, trumpets, or orecchiette.
Change it up: Dollops of ricotta cheese are a nice addition. This recipe is easily halved.
Make it gluten free: Substitute your favorite sturdy gluten-free noodle.