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Pasta with Peas or Pasta e Piselli

Pasta with peas or Pasta e Piselli is a classic Italian pasta recipe, a super delicious, frugal & easy one-pot pasta meal.

Adding diced ham or some bacon and a little parmesan rounds out this unusual but outstanding pasta recipe.

Pasta e piselli or pasta with peas and ham garnished with chopped parsley.

Pasta e Piselli

I love peas, I always have and this recipe is one of many recipes that combines pasta with peas.

I commit the apparent crime of making my carbonara with peas, I have a pea pesto and even add peas to my tuna pasta salad.

This recipe is glorious in its simplicity and it all cooks in one pot.

You simply fry off the bacon or ham with some onion and then add the peas, and some mint. Then add the pasta and water and cook.

The dish is partway between a classic pasta dish and a soup, much like my tortellini soup.

It is an Italian recipe at heart and it varies greatly from region to region, in some places it is suffixed with the word “brodo” which means broth and it is served really very wet.

This recipe is delicious, simple and easy on the pocket too!

Pasta e piselli or pasta with peas and ham served in a white bowl.

Frequently Asked Questions

What bacon or ham should I use?

I am a firm believer in cooking with what you can locally source when it comes to fresh ingredients.

There are some that will demand this dish is made with pancetta from a very specific region… But it is almost certain that in most parts of the world you have some wonderful cured pork product that will give pancetta or prosciutto run for its money!

Are frozen peas ok?

Oh gosh yes! I make this recipe throughout the year and whilst it is fantastic with fresh spring peas from the garden but it is just as magic on a cold winter night made with frozen peas.

Just run them under cold water to defrost them whilst you prepare the rest of the ingredients. It only takes 4 or 5 minutes.

What type of pasta do you use?

The pasta in these images is called Ditalini Licsi, but you can use any small form pasta.

What do I serve it with?

I’d say a spoon and a glass of wine and be done. But a nice bit of bread to dip into the “soupy” sauce around the side of the pasta tips it over the edge.

Something with an open texture like ciabatta is perfect.

Close up pasta e piselli or pasta with peas and ham.

Recipe Variations

As I mentioned above this recipe has many variations across Italy and it is pretty easy to change up.

Adding either sliced or chopped garlic adds an autumnal vibe as does a wee sprinkling of dried chilli flakes.

If you want to cross borders then chipotle chilli flakes add a glorious smokey flavour that can complement your choice of ham or bacon.

Omitting the ham makes for a great vegetarian pasta dish. But you may want to use vegetable stock rather than water to boost the flavour.

Using nutritional yeast rather than parmesan cheese can make this recipe vegan.

You can even add tomatoes! There are some folk that will call you names for doing so, but I have seen this recipe in Italian made with tomatoes.

Pasta e piselli or pasta with peas and ham served in a white bowl with parsley.

Equipment Used

I only mention brands of equipment if I think that they make a material difference to a recipe. But if you have any questions feel free to ask them in the comments section below the recipe.

  • Stovetop.
  • 18cm or 7″ saucepan.
  • Chopping board.
  • Kitchen knife.
  • Sieve or colander to defrost the peas if required.
  • Weighing scales and or measuring cups and spoons.
  • Grater.
  • Stirring and serving spoons.
  • Kettle for boiling water.
Pasta e piselli or pasta with peas and ham served in a white bowl.
Yield: 2 Servings

Pasta with Peas Recipe or Pasta e Pisella

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes

Pasta e Piselli is a classic old school Italian recipe of pasta with peas, like many, my version adds a bit of ham or bacon and uses Ditalini Licsi.


  • 200g (1⅓ Cup) Frozen Peas
  • 75g (~2½ oz) Ham
  • 50g (⅓ Cup) Onion
  • 2 Tbsp Olive Oil
  • 175g (1⅓ Cup) Small Pasta I use Ditalini Licsi
  • 24 Mint Leaves
  • ½ Tsp Coarse Sea Salt
  • ¼ Tsp Black Pepper
  • ~400ml (~1⅔ Cup) Boiling Water
  • 25g (¼ Cup) Grated Parmesan Cheese


  1. Place the peas in a sieve and run them under cold water to defrost.
  2. Cut the ham into a 5-6mm (¼") dice.
  3. Peel and dice the onion as finely as you can.
  4. Heat the olive oil in 18cm (7") pan over a medium heat.
  5. Add the diced onion and ham and cook for 4-5 minutes.
  6. Shred the mint leaves and add them to the pan with the now-defrosted peas.
  7. Stir and cook for 60 seconds.
  8. Pour over the boiling water, you want the water to cover the peas by 3-4cm (1½").
  9. Add the pasta, stir and bring the water back to the boil.
  10. Reduce the heat to a gentle simmer and cook for 7-8 minutes or until the pasta is al dente,
  11. Stir the parmesan cheese through and serve.

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 638Total Fat: 21gSaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 14gCholesterol: 35mgSodium: 1252mgCarbohydrates: 84gFiber: 8gSugar: 8gProtein: 29g

Calorific details are provided by a third-party application and are to be used as indicative figures only.

Did you make this recipe?

If you made this recipe, I'd love to see what you did and what I can do better, share a picture with me on Instagram and tag me @krumplibrian and tell me how it went!


Tuesday 30th of April 2024

Recipes for chicken liver, chicken hearts and giblets. Thank you

Brian Jones

Wednesday 1st of May 2024

Chicken heart and giblets are not readily available here, but I do cook with offal a fair bit, you can hit search at the top of the page and type liver and see what I have.

But re: chicken livers, I have some spicy peri peri chicken livers and a really simple and quick chicken liver stew.


Thursday 8th of September 2022

Very nice anther version is to blend some of the peas put less water so it will be creamy

Brian Jones

Sunday 11th of September 2022

That sounds awesome and a variant I've not tried, although I suspect I might get some push back from my wife who does not like blended peas :(


Friday 30th of March 2018

This looks great! A great twist on a classic dish! Definitely trying this one!

Brian Jones

Sunday 1st of April 2018

Thanks Tina

Christina Shoemaker

Friday 30th of March 2018

When my son was little he used to snack on peas al the time and people thought it was so strange! Love that you do that! This soup look delicious and full of so many yummy flavors!!!

Brian Jones

Sunday 1st of April 2018

Hehe, munching on peas is definitely where it is at!

Annie @ Annie's Noms

Friday 30th of March 2018

What a wonderful flavour combination! I've been really into adding peas to my meals recently and I love a good bowl of homemade soup, so this is definitely being made soon!

Brian Jones

Sunday 1st of April 2018

Peas go into everything at this time of year for me :D

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