Today we are eating Peas and Macaroni to honor my grandmother, Michelina (Mickey). It would have been her 83rd birthday. She had a way of making each person in our family feel like they were her favorite. She would show love and make you feel special by making a pan of eggplant parmigiana or buying them a special gift.
I have so many treasured memories and trinkets in my home from her. One of the meals she used to make was a dish called Peas and Macaroni. I don’t know where this originated but it’s a simple tasty dish to warm the soul on a cold day. My guess is she had to come up with quick, easy, cheap meals to feed a family of eight. I wish I would have asked her to teach me to make any of sauces. I grew up watching my mom make her recipes but I would have loved to see her make them. Rumor has it she always added some sugar to her sauce, or “gravy” as she called it.
This dish has a unique flavored sauce, so it doesn’t taste like a traditional marinara. To me it always reminded me more of like a stew. I hope you will enjoy it and help me celebrate my grandmother.
50 oz of Strained Tomatoes (or a plain tomato sauce that only contains pureed tomatoes. For example cans of Contadina Sauce or jars of Bionature strained tomatoes.)
2 cups of Frozen Petite Peas or 1 can of Petite Peas (I use frozen)
1 cup Ditalini Pasta (measured dry)
1 Medium Sweet Onion
Salt to taste (about 1/8 teaspoon)
1 Tablespoon of Olive Oil
Dice the onion
Pour olive oil into a large sauce pan and add diced onion.
Let the onion cook for 3-5 minutes
Add the jars/cans of sauce and let it cook through for about 20-25 minutes
Add about 1/8-1/4 tea spoon of salt (Less if your tomatoes contain salt)
While the sauce is cooking, bring a small pot of water to a boil and cook the pasta. When the pasta is ready, rinse it under cold water to stop the cooking. Place the pasta in a bowl and add 1-2 spoonfuls of the sauce, mixing it in to avoid the pasta sticking. Set the pasta aside
Add the peas. Strain the peas if using a can before adding them. Let the sauce cook for another 5 minutes
When sauce is thoroughly cooked, place about 1-2 cups in a storage container and set aside. The ditalini pasta soaks up the sauce quickly so I always put some aside in case there are left overs
Add the pasta to the pot of sauce and cook another minute
There will be a lot more sauce than pasta. That’s ok, the pasta absorbs most of the sauce the longer it sits. If you have leftovers, store any extra sauce separate from the pasta. Use it with any leftover pasta or also makes a great pizza sauce. This sauce tastes quite unique, different from traditional marinaras so keep that in mind.