This Gigli Pasta with Peas is a great family dinner that especially kids will love. I’ve combined my favorite pasta shape (Gigli which looks like a flower) with a variation of the famous Pasta e Piselli (pasta with green peas) recipe.
What is Gigli Pasta?
Gigli pasta has a distinct bell flower shape and it is differently known as campanelle pasta. Gigli means lilies in Italian (singular form giglio) and it’s been a Florentine symbol for over a thousand years.
In Italy, some people might even call this pasta riccioli (curls).
If you would like to learn more about Gigli pasta, please read this article written by a blogger friend of mine who lives in Italy, Jacqui DeBono – Gigli or Campanelle Pasta.
I have been lucky to find the gigli pasta recently sold here locally in Florida, they’re imported from Italy. We usually get the version below or another one where the pastas have different colors (green, yellow, red, orange etc naturally colored with vegetables).
Ingredients for This Recipe
You can cook gigli pasta however you want and make any pasta recipe with them. I decided to make a simple green peas and pasta dinner. It’s easy to cook, it looks pretty and the kids love picking the green peas in between pasta from their plate.
- Gigli pasta – it’s not easy to find, but if you do they’re worth a try.
- Green Peas – you can use frozen or fresh peas, but need to adjust cooking time accordingly before adding the pasta in.
- Yellow Onion – one small yellow onion will do. You can use half if the onion is too big. It’s important for this recipe, to dice the onion really fine. The smaller the dice, the better.
- Parmesan Cheese for a regular homemade family dinner. If you like to get a bit more fancy or traditional Italian taste, use Pecorino Romano.
- Olive Oil – extra virgin, good quality olive oil.
- Crushed Red Pepper Flakes – I add very little when cooking for the whole family as it might get spicy for the kids, but if making just for my husband and myself I add a bit more.
- Freshly Grated Black Pepper – I love to add it straight over each plate.
- White wine (optional) – If cooking just for adults, I love to add a splash of white wine when adding the green peas into the pot.
Some other optional ingredients are pancetta, bacon, butter, garlic or favorite pasta sauces. You can make this recipe your own by playing around with your favorite ingredients for pasta.
How to cook this flower pasta with peas?
Let me summarize the whole recipe in two steps:
- Cook onions in olive oil separately then add crushed red pepper and the green peas.
- Cook pasta in a different pot, then add the pasta over the onions and peas. Mix well to incorporate, top with your favorite cheese, freshly grated black pepper etc.
See the recipe card for more details.
Gigli Pasta with Peas
- 1 lb gigli pasta usually 1 package of gigli pasta is about 1 lb or 500 grams
- 5 tbsps olive oil extra virgin
- 1 yellow onion
- 0.5 tsp crushed red pepper
- 2 cups green peas
- 1 cup grated cheese most commonly Parmesan, for more traditional taste pick Pecorino Romano
- black pepper freshly grated, add to taste
- 2 ozs white wine (optional)
- 1 tbsp sea salt I use most of it in the pasta water then just a little bit to adjust taste towards the end.
- Dice the yellow onion as fine as possible. Then grate 1 cup of your favorite pasta cheese. (I alternate between parmesan and Pecorino Romano based on availability and sometimes price).
- Fill the pasta pot with water and place it on the stove top to boil. Once it boils, add salt then add the gigli pasta in. Cook for about 6-7 minutes (don't finish cooking the pasta). Drain but reserve the pasta water.
- Get a deep skillet add olive oil on medium heat. Add onion to olive oil and using a wooden spoon, stir around to saute the onion. Cook for about 5-7 minutes until onion becomes translucent and soft.
- Add crushed red pepper and cook while stirring for another 30 seconds to a minute so it releases flavor and color.
- Add green peas and the white wine. Add a cup of pasta water once the white wine evaporates. Smash some of the green peas against the sides of the skillet with the wooden spoon. Add gigli pasta in and if needed a little more pasta water to finish cooking peas and pasta together.
- Once you achieve the desired consistency, turn heat off, remove deep skillet from heat and add a cup of freshly grated cheese in. Mix well and serve right away. Add more grated cheese and freshly grated black pepper to each individual serving. You can also add some more olive oil individually to each plate as well.
- Frozen or fresh peas – you can use either or. Fresh peas will take few minutes longer to cook, so in that case I might change the order of cooking just to give the peas enough time to soften.
- Storing instructions – I store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
- Salt content – I try to use about 1 tbsp of salt for about 4 quarts of water (in order to cook 1 lb of pasta). However, you can adjust this up or down based on your needs and taste.
If you would like to save this recipe for later, please save one of the pictures from this recipe to your boards in Pinterest so you can easily retrieve the recipe later.
Let me know in comments if you have any questions or your feedback about the recipe. Thank you for reading my blog!!
Additional Pasta Recipes
We love pasta as a family, but my kids might be borderline obsessed with pasta. I have several pasta recipes in my blog. I’m not trying to go for authentic Italian recipes, instead I try to adapt recipes to what my family likes and other times I just make a dish based on what I have available in my refrigerator.
- Sausage, spinach and mushrooms baked pasta.
- Chicken and Pastina Soup
- Bolivian Spicy Pasta (Aji de Fideos)
- Ground Beef and Mushrooms Pasta
- Bucatini Cacio e Pepe