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Finished pasta e piselli is styled in bowl.

Easy Pasta e Piselli ~ Italian Pasta with Peas

Easy Pasta e Piselli is one of the most simple, Italian comfort recipes that you can make. A light, rosemary and tomato-infused broth is accented with peas, onions, garlic, crispy pancetta and pecorino cheese. With only a few main ingredients, it’s a delicious, complete meal that you can have on the table in about 30 minutes!
5 from 3 votes
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Course Pasta, Soup
Cuisine Italian
Servings 6 servings


  • 1 heaping cup small diced pancetta (about 6 ounces)
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 cups small diced yellow onions
  • ¼ cup chopped garlic
  • Pinch crushed red pepper
  • ¼ cup tomato paste
  • 2 quarts low- or no-sodium vegetable or chicken broth
  • 2 sprigs rosemary
  • 1 parmigiano or pecorino cheese rind
  • 1 tsp salt, or to taste
  • ½ tsp black pepper, or to taste
  • 1 pound small pasta shells + salt for water
  • 4 cups peas or baby peas, defrosted if frozen (about 20 ounces)
  • Grated Pecorino Romano cheese, for serving
  • Extra virgin olive oil, for serving


  • Prep all ingredients according to specifications above.
    (Please see the section above in the blog post for Step-By-Step instructions with photos.)
  • Cook pancetta: Place pancetta and oil in large pot or Dutch oven over medium-low heat. Slowly cook it until it becomes crispy and most of the fat has been rendered. (This could take 15 to 20 minutes.) Remove pancetta with slotted spoon and set it aside to drain on paper towels. Remove all but about 3 tablespoons of rendered fat from the pot and use for other purpose or discard. Leave enough fat to cover bottom of pot.
    1 heaping cup small diced pancetta, 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • Add onions, garlic, and crushed red pepper. Cook for about 4 minutes, or until onions have softened a bit, stirring occasionally.
    2 cups small diced yellow onions, ¼ cup chopped garlic, Pinch crushed red pepper
  • Move onion mixture to one side of pot. Then add tomato paste and cook it for about 30 seconds. Pour in 2 cups broth and stir to loosen and scrape up any browned bits on bottom of pot.
    ¼ cup tomato paste
  • Add remaining broth, rosemary, cheese rind, salt, and black pepper and stir until all ingredients are well combined. Cover pot, increase heat to high, and bring mixture to a boil, stirring occasionally. Immediately reduce heat to a simmer and simmer, partially covered, for about 8 to 10 minutes, or until all vegetables have softened.
    2 quarts low- or no-sodium vegetable or chicken broth, 2 sprigs rosemary, 1 parmigiano or pecorino cheese rind, 1 tsp salt,, ½ tsp black pepper,
  • Meanwhile, boil the pasta in salted water for half the time noted on the package.
    1 pound small pasta shells
  • Once the vegetables have softened, remove the rosemary spring and any remaining cheese rind and discard. Then, add the partially-cooked pasta, peas and reserved pancetta to the pot and stir well. Simmer until the pasta is al dente while stirring, then turn off heat and adjust seasoning, if necessary.
    4 cups peas or baby peas,
  • Ladle soup into bowls and top with some pecorino cheese and a drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil. Buon Appetito!
    Grated Pecorino Romano cheese,, Extra virgin olive oil,


  • If you aren’t able to find pancetta, bacon is an acceptable substitute.
  • You can easily make this soup vegetarian by omitting the pancetta. If you do this, increase the oil by about 1 Tbsp or so.
  • I used tiny shells in this recipe, as they are the perfect shape to capture the tiny pieces of pancetta and the peas! But, actually lots of small-to-medium-sized pastas work just fine in this dish, such as ditalini, farfalline, orecchiette and even cavatelli.
  • Add additional broth (or some pasta water) if a brothier soup is desired.
  • Another serving option is to only return half of the reserved pancetta to the pot along with the pasta during the final step, then use the remaining crispy pancetta to top off each individual bowl.
  • Don't forget to drizzle the finished dish with some grated pecorino cheese (or grated parmesan) and high quality extra-virgin olive oil for an additional hit of flavor and richness.
Recipe by Mangia With Michele. Please visit my site for more great cooking inspiration!
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