They say that you should never judge a book by it’s cover. Whoever “they” is, they couldn’t be more right. You just might end up missing out on a really delicious meal….
Peas and Macaroni.
While this is one of the meals that I enjoyed growing up, I think that it must have originated during the Great Depression when it was a necessity to prepare meals that cost next to nothing, but would feed a large family. Meals with pasta, rice, and beans were perfect for this because they were minimal cost, they went a long way, and they were filling.
It’s funny how those meals have come to be more of a comfort food to many of us today. Like I mentioned, I grew up on peas and macaroni, along with chickpeas (ciceri) with rice, or pasta fagioli.
I think out of all of them, peas and macaroni is definitely a favorite of mine. Yes, because it brings that level of comfort that most childhood meals bring…but there is more to it.
It has a little bit of complexity to it.
Yes. It really does.
I mean, it’s peas and macaroni.
How could it even be close to complex?
Even though it has just a couple ingredients, there are a few levels of flavor. The onions and garlic definitely give it a savory tendency…but…coupled with the peas, the onions and garlic tend to give it a sweet note as well. A sprinkle of Romano or Parmesan cheese adds that salty tang that truly gives it that satisfying sensory finish. A few flakes of crushed red pepper will add a bit of heat here and there. For a little variety, add some diced tomatoes to the mix, and now you have a whole new level of flavor added ~and~ a completely different meal!
Peas and Macaroni
Just a quick note… This recipe is the pretty much the only time I use canned peas. I like to use Le Sueur sweet peas, but if you can’t find them near you, you can use any canned peas that you prefer.
2 – 15 oz cans Le Sueur sweet peas, or your favorite brand (do not drain)
¾ cup small shell pasta, uncooked
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic
3 tbsp olive oil
Shaved / grated Romano or Parmesan Cheese
Crushed red pepper (optional)
Salt and pepper to taste
½ can (14.5 oz can) diced tomatoes (optional)
Over medium heat, and in a large saucepan, sauté the onions and garlic in the olive oil until translucent. Add the two cans of peas, along with the liquid. Cover with lid, and simmer for about 20 minutes. Add the shell pasta, cover, and simmer until the pasta is fully cooked, about another 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
At this point, the peas and macaroni is done. Serve it in a bowl garnished with Romano or Parmesan cheese, crushed red pepper (optional).
Or.. you can add a ½ can diced tomatoes: