Home » Recipes » Pasta » One-Pot Pasta with Peas (Pasta e Piselli)

One-Pot Pasta with Peas (Pasta e Piselli)

If you’re like me, always in search of that perfect blend of simple yet utterly satisfying meals, then you’re going to adore this Italian Pasta and Peas recipe. It’s one of those classic homey dishes that proves you don’t need a long list of ingredients to create something really good.

Tender pasta, sweet peas, sweet onions, and just the right amount of Parmesan and black pepper to make it sing. Whether you’re whipping up a quick dinner on a busy weeknight or leisurely cooking for friends over the weekend, this dish promises to deliver the perfect combination of comfort and taste!

A few reasons I love this dish:

  • Easy to make
  • Comes together quickly!
  • Cheap ingredients but not junky
  • Contains unfussy staple ingredients that are easy to keep on hand
  • So easy to customize!

Pasta with peas! I’ve been eating this dish for as long as I can remember because my mom made it for me when I was a little kiddo. And we still make it!

This is one of those Italian comfort food dishes that is so easy to make and is also easy to customize.

Some Italian Americans make this dish with a red sauce; our version is not red, it is served with chicken broth or vegetable broth or plain (ie, no broth).


  • Pasta – I like to use small pasta shapes, but you can also break spaghetti up into small pieces before boiling.
  • Peas – I prefer frozen fresh peas, but you can use whatever you have on hand/like (canned or fresh).
  • Onion – this lends a wonderful sweetness that I believe pairs so well with peas!
  • Red pepper flakes (just a pinch; completely optional)
  • For topping: parmesan (plenty!) and black pepper.


  • Vegan – top with nutritional yeast instead of grated cheese.
  • Broth – may use chicken broth (traditional), vegetable broth, or no broth (make sure to reserve pasta water if not using broth in case mixture becomes too dry).
  • Peas – may use either frozen or canned.
  • Pasta – may use any kind of pasta (gluten free or traditional). I like smaller sized pasta which is traditional for pasta with peas or you may break spaghetti into small pieces.


  • Spicy – add more red pepper flakes while cooking to imbue heat into the dish, or just a bit of diced banana peppers.
  • Deluxe – add more peas, and/or add prosciutto, pancetta, bacon or ham. And/or, deglaze the pan after cooking peas with a glass of red or white wine. Make sure to cook off the alcohol for a few minutes before proceeding with next step of adding/cooking pasta.
  • Red Sauce – add crushed or regular tomato sauce before adding water to boil pasta.

How to Make: Step-by-Step

Sauteed onions in pan with olive oil and wooden spoon.
Peas cooking with lid ajar.

Begin by heating olive oil in a large sauté pan, adding red pepper for a spicy kick (optional), and cooking for about a minute until it’s fragrant. Then incorporate diced onions, sautéing until the onions are translucent and slightly darkened, which should take another 3 to 4 minutes. Next, add frozen peas to the pan and sauté until defrosted.

Pour in water – just enough to cover the peas – then cover the pan with the lid slightly ajar and let it simmer for about 20 minutes, or until the peas reach your desired tenderness. Keep an eye on the water level, adding more as necessary to prevent drying out and to help the peas absorb the onion flavor.

Peas and pasta added to pan.
Adding more water to pasta and peas.

Once the peas are tender (I like them very tender), mix in dried pasta and salt, adding water to completely submerge the pasta and peas with an extra inch of water above. Stir everything together, cover the pan, and bring to a boil.

Cook the pasta as per the package instructions, adjusting the lid as needed. Season with black pepper and stir in half of the cheese, adjusting salt to taste.

Bowls of pasta and peas with cheese.

Serve the pasta and peas hot in bowls, optionally adding warm chicken broth, garnishing with more cheese and black pepper. If serving later, reserve the broth separately to prevent the pasta from over-absorbing liquid.

Tips and Technique

Don’t overcook the pasta! Pasta always continues to cook a bit while it’s still hot and it will continue to absorb the broth or pasta water if it’s left sitting in liquid.

Peas – I like to cook my peas until they are very tender. This is a matter of preference, of course, but I love the creaminess of peas when they are almost overcooked.

Season well – this dish relies on good seasoning and garnish. Test for enough salt and pepper and add grated cheese to taste – I love to add a lot! I also love to finish this dish with a nice drizzle of olive oil.

Avoid dryness: Serve immediately after cooking. If that’s not possible, reserve some pasta water (ladle some out into a Ball jar if you have one) to add when serving OR heat up some chicken or vegetable broth on the side to add just before serving. Also drizzle liberally with olive oil.

Instant Pot Instructions

  • Using the saute feature, cook the onions with red pepper flake and olive oil until the onions is translucent and starts to brown just a bit.
  • Add pasta, peas, and add just enough water to cover ingredients.
  • Cook on manual pressure for 4 minutes.
  • Use quick release and add warm chicken or vegetable broth if desired
  • Top with grated cheese, black pepper, toasted breadcrumbs or leftover chopped bacon.

If you tried this recipe, please leave a 🌟 star rating and let me know how it went in the 📝 comments below! SUBSCRIBE for more recipes.

📖 Recipe

Pasta and peas with large serving spoon.

Pasta with Peas (Easy, One Pot Cooking)

This savory pasta with peas is very popular staple in the Italian kitchen! With only a few ingredients, you can have this one pot version ready in less than 45 minutes!
5 from 5 votes
Author: Marie
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine Italian
Servings 4
Calories 384 kcal


  • 6 ounces (1 1/4 cups) uncooked short pasta ditalini or elbows recommended
  • 16 ounces (3 cups) peas I use frozen
  • 1 large (1 cups) onion diced (I like to use sweet onion)
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/4 tsp salt the grated cheese can make this salty to less is better to start
  • black pepper to taste
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes optional
  • 1/2 cup grated cheese (or more) parmesan or locatelli, for topping

For serving

  • 4 cups chicken or vegetable broth warmed; optional if you want more broth


  • Add olive oil to a large saute pan along with red pepper (if using), and saute for about 1 minute over medium heat until fragrant.
  • Add diced onion and sliced garlic and continue cooking for about 3 or 4 more minutes OR until onion becomes translucent and darkens slightly.
  • Add frozen peas to the pan and saute until they have defrosted. Then add enough water to cover the peas, cover the pan with the lid ajar, and cook for about 20 minutes or until the level of desired tenderness is reached. I like my peas nice and creamy so cook until you reach this texture if desired.
  • Continue adding water to keep the mixture from drying out, help tenderize peas, and impart the onion flavor.
  • After the peas have been cooked, add the dried pasta to the pan and the salt, and then pour enough extra water to fully submerge the pasta and peas with about 1-inch of extra water on top.
  • Give everything a good stir, cover, boil, and cook pasta according to package instructions. You may uncover or place the lid ajar after the mixture boils. Adjust the heat if necessary.
  • Add black pepper to taste and about half the cheese. Stir well. Adjust for salt.
  • After cooking, ladle pasta with peas into bowls and add some warm chicken broth if desired.
  • Garnish with plenty more grated cheese and plenty of black pepper.
  • Serve immediately (if serving later, pour off and reserve broth so that the pasta will not continue absorbing the broth).


Instant Pot Instructions: 
  • Using the saute feature, cook the onions with red pepper flakes and olive oil.
  • Add pasta and peas, and add just enough water to cover the ingredients.
  • Cook on manual pressure for 4 minutes.
  • Use quick release
  • Serve with chicken or vegetable broth if desired.
  • Top with grated cheese and black pepper. 
May also make pasta with peas using leftover peas, ideally that have been cooked with onion. Simply boil pasta and mix with peas, adding optional broth, cheese, black pepper, etc.
Storage and Serving
  • Please note that the pasta will continue to absorb broth or extra pasta water so this is best served immediately after making. If making ahead, loosely drain any extra pasta water and/or do not add broth until ready to eat.
  • Store the broth separately from the pasta and peas in the fridge, and recombine when ready. Good for 2-3 days.
  • These ingredients don’t stand up well to freezing as the pasta will become mushy.


Calories: 384kcalCarbohydrates: 52gProtein: 15gFat: 13gSaturated Fat: 4gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 6gCholesterol: 14mgSodium: 250mgPotassium: 440mgFiber: 9gSugar: 9gVitamin A: 1047IUVitamin C: 48mgCalcium: 146mgIron: 2mg
Want More Recipes? Subscribe Today

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating