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Orecchiette with Cress and Spring Pea Sauce

Photo: Stephen Devries; Styling: Cindy Barr


Hands-on time 12 mins
Total time 20 mins
Yield Serves 4 (serving size: 3/4 cup)
The fresh, vibrant flavors of sweet peas and peppery cress meld beautifully in this simple pasta dish. If you can't find orecchiette, small shell pasta is a good substitute.


  • 1 1/2 cups fresh or frozen green peas
  • 8 ounces orecchiette rigate
  • 3 tablespoons water
  • 2 tablespoons fresh tarragon leaves, divided
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons grated lemon rind
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 4 ounces watercress, trimmed
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 ounce feta cheese, crumbled (about 1/4 cup)

Nutrition Information

  • calories 301
  • fat 6 g
  • satfat 1.8 g
  • monofat 2.8 g
  • polyfat 0.5 g
  • protein 12 g
  • carbohydrate 51 g
  • fiber 4 g
  • cholesterol 6 mg
  • iron 3 mg
  • sodium 268 mg
  • calcium 99 mg

How to Make It

  1. Bring a large saucepan or Dutch oven of water to a boil. Place peas in a mesh strainer; set in boiling water for 1 minute. Rinse peas under cold water. Place 1 cup peas in a blender or food processor; reserve remaining peas.

  2. Cook pasta in the boiling water according to package directions, omitting salt and fat; drain. Rinse under cold water until cool; drain.

  3. Add 3 tablespoons water, 1 tablespoon tarragon, oil, rind, salt, pepper, and garlic to peas in blender. Process until smooth. Combine pea mixture and pasta in a large bowl; toss to coat. Add reserved peas, remaining 1 tablespoon tarragon, watercress, and juice; toss gently to combine. Sprinkle with feta; serve immediately.

Cook's Notes

MyRecipes is working with Let's Move!, the Partnership for a Healthier America, and USDA's MyPlate to give anyone looking for healthier options access to a trove of recipes that will help them create healthy, tasty plates. For more information about creating a healthy plate, visit