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Tiffany Walsh shares a Meatless Friday recipe that was a staple during her childhood. Print our free recipe card and try this with your family.

When my sisters and I were growing up, Macaroni and Peas was a Meatless Friday staple for our family. My Italian mom’s red sauce cannot be duplicated, but I do my best! Over time, I have created a structure from her more free form plan and lack of measurements, because those of us with less experience definitely need structure! There are lots of ways to switch things up in this recipe and customize it into your own new favorite, and I made a few suggestions, but the possibilities are endless!  

Macaroni and Peas 

1-2 tbsp. olive oil 
½ small onion, finely chopped 
1 clove garlic 
¼ green bell pepper, chopped (optional) 
1 can (6 oz.) tomato paste 
1 can (28 oz.) tomato puree 
Just over 4 cups of water (34 oz.) 
2 tsp. salt 
½ tsp. black pepper 
½-1 tbsp. oregano 
½-1 tbsp. parsley 
½-1 tbsp. basil 
1 tsp. red pepper flakes (optional) 
3 tbsp. grated Romano cheese (can substitute grated Parmesan cheese), and extra to sprinkle on top of finished dish. 
1 can (15 oz.) peas (drained and rinsed), or substitute beans of your choice here! 
12-16 oz. small or medium pasta shells, or other small pasta such as elbows or ditalini 



In a Dutch oven, sauté onion, garlic and green pepper (if using) over medium heat in the olive oil. When those are softened, add the tomato paste and puree, using the cans to re-fill with water and add to the pot. Add salt, pepper, oregano, parsley, basil, red pepper (if using), and Romano cheese. Cook for 10 minutes, then add the peas. One of my mom’s favorite tips is to crush 1-2 peas on the side of the pot to really infuse flavor!  

Cook for 60-90 minutes, stirring regularly.  

When the sauce is close to being ready, boil the pasta according to package directions.  

Serve the pasta topped by the sauce mixture, with added Romano cheese on top. 


Click to tweet:
This #MeatlessFriday try a family-tested recipe for a childhood favorite, Macaroni and Peas. #CatholicMom

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Copyright 2023 Tiffany Walsh
Images: copyright 2023 Tiffany Walsh, all rights reserved.