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Aunt Rachel’s Peas & Pasta

  • Author: Liz
  • Total Time: 35 minutes
  • Yield: 4-6 servings 1x


My husband’s Italian Aunt Rachel taught me to make this dish over 30 years ago, and I still treasure the handwritten recipe she gave to me.   She actually provided measurements, which was somewhat unusual, as often the Italian relatives would say “use as much as you think.”   This was a meatless meal often served during Lent or on meatless days as required by the Church.


  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 3 T vegetable oil
  • 1 can Tomato paste (Contadina is preferred)
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 lb ditalini pasta (or small elbow macaroni)
  • 1 can Le Seur baby peas


  1. Peel and chop garlic and saute in oil until soft and pale, being careful not to burn garlic.
  2. Add tomato paste to garlic oil and saute for about 5 minutes.
  3. Add baking soda to this mixture and continue to saute for another 2-3 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, boil enough water to cook pasta and cook according to directions.  Drain pasta, reserving cooking liquid.
  5. Add approximately 1 1/2 cups of the cooking liquid to the tomato sauce mixture.  Add the can of peas with their liquid and heat on medium for about 3-5 minutes.
  6. Add the cooked pasta and let the mixture cook for another 3-5 minutes, until it reaches the desired consistency.
  7. Enjoy!


Ditalini are small tube shaped pasta available in most grocery stores.  If you cannot find ditalini, small macaroni is an acceptable alternative. Aunt Rachel insisted that only LaSeur peas will make this dish a success!

  • Prep Time: 15 mins
  • Cook Time: 20 mins
  • Category: Pasta, Vegetarian
  • Method: stovetop
  • Cuisine: Rustic Italian

Keywords: pasta, comfort food, vegetarian, italian, easy



Head Cook

 I’ve always loved cooking, and spent many years working on the food & beverage side of the hospitality industry, which served to increase my interest in food, wine and entertaining.