In this blog we go back to my mother’s kitchen (get used to it) and recreate a soup that I make in my own kitchen quite frequently. It’s a dish from Naples called PASTA E PISELLI, known in Italian-American speak as BASTA BAZEELS. The dish as I make it uses a can of peas and it’s liquid…REALLY?? DID HE JUST SAY THAT?? yes, yes I did. In Italy, or Naples the dish is somewhat different and many Italian-Americans adhere to that style which is tubettini mixed with peas that have been cooked with lots of diced onion in olive oil. Some add prosciutto or pancetta. (unless you are a new immigrant from Italy there’s no way that back in 1940 any Italian household in America was using pancetta except for maybe a select few that cured their own varieties. It was just not available until much more recently.) So for the families that added the cured pork it most likely was chopped sopressata or prosciutto rind. The dish that came down to me via Grandma Scaramuzzi (from Naples) and my Mom, (from Staten Island, NYC) is a dish of broken spaghetti, onions, tomato, olive oil, pinch of oregano, and black pepper finished with pecorino. There it is. I don’t think I can stress enough that most Italian dishes except a few elaborate ones, but the majority of them rely on not a very big ingredient list. There is no Olive Gardening (my term for too many ingredients in a an Italian dish) here. The massive flavor comes from a few places. 1. the peas and their canned liquid, I use, as Mom did, LeSueur Peas. Feel free to use the canned peas of your choice, there’s lots of great organic varieties out there now too. 2. the onions (see, no garlic, stop thinking that EVERY dish that’s Italian needs or uses garlic..I love garlic..but it’s not in all our food, never way) which cook till sweet and soft, it gives the flavor. 3. Black pepper..AHA! you say! Finally, Battaglia cooks without Peperoncino. Well this dish is more aromatic with the spicy notes from black pepper. Be generous. 4. the tomatoes. Mom used Tomato sauce or some crushed Italian plums (again back in the Stone Age 1960’s, San Marzano Tomatoes were something you HAD to get in Italy, they were really not imported here like they are now)..but I use something slightly different, in fact it’s a very Napoletana addition to the canned tomato family and used very often, it’s the POMODORINI, or the cherry tomatoes that you can get here now imported from Southern Italy. They are packed in a 14-15 oz can. They also cook quickly. So there you have it…reasons why I make this dish the way I do..Nods to it’s roots, to my family’s heritage recipe and just a bit of making it A FOOD OBSESSION’S. You will like what you me here for sure.
SERVES: 3-4 TIME: 40 minutes
1 CAN LE SUEUR PEAS AND THEIR LIQUID
1 MEDIUM ONION, DICED
1/2 TSP GROUND BLACK PEPPER
1/4 tsp. KOSHER SALT
PINCH OF OREGANO
1 CAN POMODORINI OR 1 CUP OF CRUSHED ITALIAN/SAN MARZANO TOMATOES
8 OZ. BROKEN SPAGHETTI OR FIDEOS (ALREADY BROKEN SPAGHETTI IN A BOX..AWESOME!)
1/8 CUP WATER
In a saucepan, heat 2 tbs. of Olive Oil, Extra Virgin will add more flavor, up to you…then add the onions and the oregano and let them saute’ for a good 10 minutes. About 1/2 way thru, add the 1/8 cup of water to the pan. and let it continue to cook. While this is all happening cook the broken Spaghetti according to the package directions till just al dente. Drain and keep the pasta loosely covered. Now add the tomatoes to the onions, BUT, make sure they are soft, if not, let them cook longer. Bring to a boil and then add the peas and their liquid. Stir to mix giving a taste..add salt at this point just in case you need to. Remember, there is salt in the canning liquid and the tomatoes. Don’t be afraid, you just do not want to over salt, you are adding cheese at the end. Pecorino is salty AND delicious. Let this now cook for 15 minutes on low. Then add the pasta and stir. Cook for an additional 5 minutes on low, then remove from the heat. Add 2 tbs. of grated Pecorino Romano. A good amount of black pepper and a drizzle of a little more Extra Virgin Olive Oil. Let it rest. Check for seasonings to make sure it’s not over or under seasoned. Adjust accordingly. There, it’s all done. Reward yourself with this vegetarian friendly bowl of Pasta E Piselli. If you omit the cheese it’s a vegan delight but the only label that is deserves is Italian-American. When done right it’s a cuisine that one can be proud of.
Thanks for reminding me of this dish. My mom made it all the time.
now you can make it again!! it’s very much a “Mom” dish..or for my kids, a “Dad” dish, lol.
I love pasta e piselli, and I make it often, but I like fresh peas wen in season, wen not in season I use the frozen one , my version is I chop onion, a small piece of carrot,a small piece of celery the leafy part, in a pan with a little olive oil I cook them until the onions are golden then i add tomote sauce, cook about 10 minute, add the fresh or frozen peas cook for 15 minute, add enough water to cook the pasta together with the peas, bring to boil add salt and pepper and the pasta cook al dente , wen done it should be not too suopy or to dry, serve with a little olive oil on top and pecorino Romano , this is my mom recipe
I’m trying it tonight, but am making less, since it’s just for me. I bought the aged Romano for this.
hope you love it!!
I’ve tried so many times to replicate my moms pasta and peas that I grew up. Just used this recipe for my wife and I, and it was totally perfect. Really took my back to that weekday my mom had only a few things in cupboard and made this dish. So perfect. I miss my mom, but dishes like this really take me back! Thank you 🙂
You made my day with your comment Michael. Thank you so much for your kind words and happy cooking!!
Where is the recipe
It’s in the blog post
So is this a soup or a pasta dish?
Great post! I remember my grandmother making something similar.
ty so much!! appreciate your kind comments and support!! Happy Cooking!!
This looks delicious! My grandkids always want macaroni for dinner and I’m always keeping an eye out fir recipes that incorporate vegetables. My mom made something like this using spareribs, peas and tomato sauce, onions. Have you ever made anything like that? Don’t thing it has a name, with 6 kids I think she was stretching her budget😊. Live your recipes, thank you for sharing!
That sounds like a delicious Sicilian dish…i love peas and tomato or peas with any dish.love it…and ty for the complimenti!! Appreciate it very much! Happy Cooking.
My mom and mom in law made this all the time, this is my favorite. Now I can make it myself. Just love this dish. Pray it comes out like yours. Thank you for sharing. Oh, I was born on state island moved to fl 21!years ago. Miss the ethnic foods. God bless!
i’m sure you’re a fantastic cook !! have fun with it!!
The dish looks very appetizing. I suppose you could call it a soup also depending on the amount of liquid that is in it. Or it could be a pasta hotdish depending how dry you make it. Either way, it looks very tasty. I think this is one of those dishes you could replace the pasta with zoodles for diabetics. (Zoodles are spiralized zucchini)
OMG! It’s almost done and I can’t wait to eat it…smells so gooood!
keep us posted!!!!
This was awesome made it tonight will be making again very soon
fantastic!! Happy Cooking!!!
Great. That’s how I make it exactly except no oregano
I use a pinch of Sicilian or my homegrown and dried oregano. A small pinch adds a light background. Using more than that will ruin the dish. Oregano should always be used in small amount I think.
My mother’s name is Scaramuzzini and she is from Staten Island…and they were from Naples. Coincidence…not with that name.
Ours is Scaramuzzi but that came from Basilicata. My grandpa s name. Where in Staten Island?? My family was from West Brighton. I was born and raised in Travis then lived in South Beach before moving to the central Jersey Shore
Rose bank. It is so close in spelling…crazy.
Moms maiden name Degennaro, her dad was from Naples. She was born in Hoboken NJ. The family moved to Manhattan. She made peas and macaroni with Delmonte tomato sauce. This was one of my favorites and made it all the time.
Omg this is exactly what I was looking for!!!
I’m from Staten Island too btw!!!
I’ve been craving This dish so I’ll be making it tomorrow!
Ciao’ to a fellow statenitalian!!