Photo: Stephen Devries; Styling: Cindy Barr 
Hands-on Time
12 Mins
Total Time
20 Mins
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.

How to Make It

Step 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.

Step 2

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

Step 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.

Chef'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

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Ratings & Reviews

So I liked it but...

May 05, 2015
My family didn't.  They just don't like tarragon.  Guess I get the leftovers for lunch.  :-)


April 16, 2015
I've tried this recipe last week for a family dinner and found it simply delicious! I normally prepare turnip greens orecchiette, as explained here: is one of the most traditional dishes of Apulia, especially of Bari... They never let me down! Thanks for your recipe!

birch12's Review

July 12, 2014
We liked this dish a lot! I agree the prep time was closer to 20 minutes (but aren't they all a little more than they say) It was light and delicious. The watercress was a nice touch! I would recommend buying bagged watercress.

LDombeck's Review

June 17, 2014
Mine turned out great. I didn't bother trimming the cress and it was a bit stemmy, but totally fine to eat. So my portion was way bigger than 3/4 cup (which seemed small anyway). I thought this was nice and fresh, a little bit of spice from the raw garlic. I used mini farfalle pasta.

emrsalgado's Review

May 07, 2014
Okay, but disappointing. BUT, the 20 mins prep time, 12 mins active must be for those who have a sous chef or test kitchen intern to do things like trim the watercress and grate the lemon. It took me at least an hour of active prep, trimming the stems off the cress alone was at least 20 mins. Like another reviewer, I had bright green sauce, and 4 oz. of cress was about 5 times as much cress as is shown in their photo. For all that effort, it was edible but bland, even with leftover steak chopped up and thrown in.

MarisaFranca's Review

May 07, 2014

tjane81's Review

April 19, 2014
I feel like I did something wrong, but I followed the instructions. Mine turned out bright green. Nothing like the pic. It didn't taste very good either. Wondering if I should have used something different than watercress? Any suggestions? I love peas and want to make this work.

slschall's Review

April 19, 2014

ericai's Review

April 16, 2014
Very good! Fresh, light and easy to make. Served with grilled shrimp. Couldn't find the orecchiette so I used bow tie and added an extra clove of garlic.