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Orecchiette with Peas, Ricotta and Black Pepper
Stefano Secchi
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This is such a great way to use really nice frozen peas for springtime. The simplicity of the dish, the rich ricotta and cracked black pepper always blows me away. This recipe proves that frozen peas that can be really, really good if done correctly.

Swap option: You can swap out fava beans for the peas.


  • Pea Sauce

    • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
    • 1/4 yellow onion, minced
    • 1 clove garlic, minced
    • 2 cups frozen peas
    • Kosher salt, to taste
  • Pasta

    • 2½ cups orecchiette pasta
    • 1 cup frozen peas
    • 1 lemon, zested and juiced separately
    • 1 cup whole milk ricotta cheese
    • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, to finish
    • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
    • Kosher salt, to taste


For the pea sauce:

In a medium saucepan over medium heat, add the olive oil. Sauté the onions and garlic together for about 30 seconds then add the frozen peas. Cook until the peas are tender, about 2 minutes. Transfer the mixture to a blender and process until smooth. Season with salt to taste. Set aside.

For the pasta:

1. Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Add the orecchiette and cook to al dente. Just before the orecchiette is done, add the frozen peas and let cook for 30 seconds. Reserve 1/4 cup of the pasta water.

2. In a large bowl, add 1 cup of the pea sauce. When the orecchiette is cooked, drain it and add to the bowl along with the peas, remaining pea sauce, lemon juice and 1/4 cup pasta water. Combine well.

3. Plate the orecchiette and add 4 dollops of ricotta to each plate, top with lemon zest, more extra virgin olive oil, plenty of cracked black pepper and salt, to taste.

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