Umbrian Wild Pea Soup with Casarecce Pasta.

Umbrian wild pea soup with casarecce pasta.

This simple but hearty and delicious Umbrian wild pea soup is made with a legume I had actually never heard of until recently! Roveja peas are an exceptionally tasty ancient wild legume from the Sibillini mountain range on the border between Umbria and Le Marche. Of course you can also make this easy and nutritious pasta soup with other legumes such as chickpeas or lentils.

Umbrian wild pea soup with casarecce pasta

Zuppa di roveja con pasta.

A couple of weeks ago friends who live in Norcia, Umbria came to visit. They brought a boxful of local goodies with them.  Norcia is famous for its sausages, hams and other cured meats. I was thrilled that their ‘gift box’ included a beautiful side of guanciale, some wild boar sausages and some fresh pork sausages. And yes, I have used some of these in pasta recipes which I’ll be sharing here on The Pasta Project very soon!

Umbrian roveja pea soup with casarecce pasta

However, they also brought a bag full of dried beans and other legumes and cereals, including a unique legume, most commonly called roveja in Italian, but also known as roveglia, roveggia, rubiglio or pisello dei campi.  This is the legume I used in this Umbrian wild pea soup recipe.

roveja Umbrian wild field peas

Umbria is famous for its legumes and cereals. The Umbrian kitchen is very rustic and lentils, chickpeas, cicerchie (wild chickpeas), borlotti beans, cannellini beans and pearl spelt and barley are all staples in the local diet.  Of course, I am familiar with all these foods, but I had never heard of roveja wild peas before!

ingredients for umbrian wild pea soup on white plate

What are roveja wild peas?

As it turns out, roveja peas are a rather rare and relatively unknown type of Umbrian wild field pea. They do actually look like small peas but are dark brown, reddish or dark green in colour. Some researchers believe Roveja is an ancestor of the common pea, while others claim it is a true species.

chopped onions, sprig of rosemary and olive oil in Dutch oven

The Roveja pea is a very ancient wild pea, originally from Western Asia. It was wild harvested or grown for centuries on high altitude terrain in the Sibillini mountains in Umbria and Le Marche, where it was part of the staple diet of the local shepherds and farmers. It was also much appreciated by the Ancient Romans and Greeks.

onions, rosemary and diced potatoes in Dutch oven

However, these wild field peas almost completely disappeared from tables with the introduction of mechanical harvesting. The long stalks of roveja plants tend to lie on the ground, making it impossible for threshing machines to harvest them. Even today,  the crops are scythed manually. However, nowadays, the Roveja pea is enjoying a resurgence through a Slow Food Ark of Taste status that encourages its use and preservation. 

onions, diced potatoes, onions and cooked roveja wild peas in a Dutch oven

This Umbrian wild pea pasta soup.

Since roveja peas are relatively unknown outside of the area they come from, finding recipes for them wasn’t so easy. In Umbria, they are used mostly in soups, like this Umbrian wild pea soup with casarecce. I also found a delicious recipe for roveja peas with guanciale, pecorino and bread gnocchi which I will be publishing soon. However, this pasta soup was the first dish I made with roveja and it was so so tasty! Easy to make too!

casarecce pasta added to wild pea soup in Dutch oven

Apart from the legumes, all you need is a couple of potatoes, onions, rosemary, some vegetable broth and some pasta. Of course, finding roveja for this Umbrian wild pea soup is not easy but you can substitute the peas with chickpeas, lentils or beans.

Umbrian wild pea soup in Dutch oven ready to serve

The most time consuming part of this Umbrian wild pea soup recipe is preparing the legumes. Roveja peas can only be bought dried, not canned. So, this means you will need to soak them overnight and then boil for about an hour before making the soup.

fusiliata casareccia pasta by Di Martino

The Pasta.

This Umbrian wild pea soup recipe can be with any small pasta shape. The recipe I followed called for ditalini. But, since I didn’t have any of that pasta, I used one of my favourite shapes, casarecce.  To be more precise, I used fusillata casareccia by a company called Di Martino from Gragnano, Naples.

Umbrian wild pea soup with casarecce pasta

Di Martino is one of the most well-known producers of pasta di Gragnano IGP. I got this pasta when I was invited to lunch at the Di Martino pasta bar in Naples earlier this year. In Italy, the IGP certification for food is a bit like saying DOC for wine.

Roveja pea soup with casarecce

Gragnano is a town near Naples where dried pasta has been produced for around 500 years! Nowadays, there are about 15 companies producing pasta di Gragnano IGP.  If you’d like to know more about this type of pasta, do read my post about my visit there. I was invited to Gragnano by Pastificio dei Campi , a prestigious pasta company which is part of the Di Martino group.

Whichever pasta you choose to make this delicious Umbrian wild pea soup recipe with, I’m sure you’ll love this simple rustic dish! It’s easy to make and very tasty and nutritious.

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Roveja wild pea soup with pasta recipe from Umbria
5 from 33 votes
Umbrian wild field pea soup with casarecce pasta
Umbrian Wild Pea Soup with Casarecce Pasta
Prep Time
10 mins
Cook Time
30 mins

This delicious rustic wild pea soup with pasta recipe from Umbria is made with a unique rare legume called roveja. It's easy to make and seriously nutritious and warming. You can also make it with other legumes such as chickpeas or lentils.

Course: Main Course, Soup
Cuisine: Central Italy, Italian, Umbria
Keyword: authentic Italian pasta recipe, casarecce, legumes, pasta soup, roveja, umbrian cuisine, vegetarian, wild pea soup
Servings: 4
  • 200 g Umbrian wild peas (roveja) or chickpeas/ lentils soaked overnight and boiled for one hour. (7oz)
  • 100 g casarecce pasta (3.5oz) or other soup pasta
  • 2 potatoes peeled and diced
  • 1 onion peeled and chopped
  • 1 sprig rosemary
  • 1 Lt vegetable stock (4 cups) homemade or store bought.
  • salt to taste
  • ground black pepper to taste
  • 3-4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil.
  1. Leave the Umbrian wild peas (roveja) to soak for at least 4 hours, preferably overnight. Boil the roveja in lightly salted water for about 1 hour. Then save some of the cooking water and drain (you can use chickpeas or lentils instead)

  2. Peel and chop the onion. Peel and dice the potatoes.

  3. Fry the onion in the olive oil in a deep pan or Dutch oven until it starts to soften. Add the rosemary and potatoes and sauté with the onions for 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, add the boiled roveja and cook for another 5 minutes.

  4. Add some of the roveja cooking water and the vegetable stock and when it comes to the boil stir and add the pasta.

  5. Cook for as long as it takes for the pasta to be al dente. If you need more liquid add some more vegetable stock or roveja cooking water. Serve immediately with some grated pecorino if required.

Recipe Notes

Of course, finding roveja for this Umbrian wild field pea soup is not easy but you can buy them online or substitute the peas with chickpeas, lentils or beans.

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  • Avatar
    November 21, 2019 10:59 pm

    Never seen this pea before or heard. The soup looks delicious. Have to look for this pea in our next grocery shopping.

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    November 20, 2019 1:36 pm

    What a beautiful idea! I have found the wild peas in a wholefoods store a while back and I do cook them but never thought of mixing them with pasta. Brilliant dish will need to make this as soon as possible. Yumm.

  • Avatar
    November 20, 2019 9:19 am

    I love a good soup, especially during the colder months!

    Katie xoxo

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    November 18, 2019 11:38 pm

    Love everything about this soup! The rosemary adds nice flavor!

    • Avatar
      The Pasta Project
      November 19, 2019 5:21 pm

      Thank you, Emily! The rosemary works beautifully with the other flavours!

  • Avatar
    Kari Heron
    November 18, 2019 9:49 pm

    Never heard of those peas either but that soup looks exceptional for cold weather. The pasta I would love to get my hands on. So great that you have friends bringing regional food treats. That reminds me of an old Jamaican tradition where people would always walk with things from their farms when visiting.

    • Avatar
      The Pasta Project
      November 19, 2019 5:22 pm

      Thank you, Kari! I like the sound of that tradition!

  • Avatar
    November 18, 2019 8:22 pm

    I love hearty soups, and this recipe was perfect. Will be making it again! Thanks for the inspiration and recipe.

    • Avatar
      The Pasta Project
      November 19, 2019 5:23 pm

      I am glad you loved it Aline!

  • Avatar
    Jenni LeBaron
    November 18, 2019 7:47 pm

    This Umbrian wild pea soup with casarecce pasta looks like the perfect fall comfort food to enjoy any night of the week. This looks like one of those dishes that will only improve the next day too!

    • Avatar
      The Pasta Project
      November 19, 2019 5:24 pm

      That is very true Jenni, it is perfect the next day! (and less work!)

  • Avatar
    Claire | The Simple, Sweet Life
    November 18, 2019 7:12 am

    What a unique dish! I can’t say I’ve ever put peas in my pasta, but they’re one of my favorite vegetables so I can’t imagine I wouldn’t like this. Can’t wait to give your recipe a try!

    • Avatar
      The Pasta Project
      November 19, 2019 5:31 pm

      I hope you try it and love it, Claire! I love peas too!

  • Avatar
    November 18, 2019 2:17 am

    I wish I had friends that brought me such yummy treats, LOL. This soup sounds amazing and hearty. I always drool just a tiny bit when looking at your recipes.

    • Avatar
      The Pasta Project
      November 19, 2019 5:32 pm

      I am very lucky! And thank you, Debbie – we love making people drool!

  • Avatar
    Cathleen @ A Taste of Madness
    November 17, 2019 7:34 pm

    Pasta is my go-to weeknight meal, but I always end up doing the same thing: butter and parmesan. I need to diversify!! This looks like a perfect alternative!

    • Avatar
      The Pasta Project
      November 19, 2019 5:35 pm

      That’s also delicious, Cathleen! Let us know if you try this recipe!

  • Avatar
    November 17, 2019 5:03 pm

    This pasta dish looks so comforting! This would make a perfect meal for meatless Mondays.

    • Avatar
      The Pasta Project
      November 19, 2019 5:36 pm

      Thank you, Sharon. It is perfect for a meatless meal, and as you say, really good comfort food!

  • Avatar
    November 17, 2019 6:17 am

    I must say, I’ve never heard of this dish! It looks divine and I’m putting it on the menu for the week. Thanks for sharing.

    • Avatar
      The Pasta Project
      November 19, 2019 5:37 pm

      Thank you, Debbye. Let us know if you try it!

  • Avatar
    November 17, 2019 12:59 am

    I’ve never had those types of wild peas or pasta, so this is an entirely new meal idea for me! Looks tasty and filling. Pure comfort food!

    • Avatar
      The Pasta Project
      November 19, 2019 5:38 pm

      Thank you, Leanne! There are so many things still to discover about Italian food!

  • Avatar
    Angela Greven | Mean Green Chef
    November 16, 2019 4:28 pm

    I love finding new recipes and ingredients that I’ve never come across before and this fits the bill! These are all wonderful flavor profiles on their own and I’m sure they come together to create the perfect peas soup. Going to see if I can order some of these Umbrian peas now.

    • Avatar
      The Pasta Project
      November 19, 2019 5:40 pm

      Thank you, Angela! We would love to hear all about it if you make it!

  • Avatar
    November 16, 2019 4:37 am

    It was nice to find out a bit more about roveja AND to learn the recipe. So many great ways to cook pasta! And all that time you need to spend on legumes… I think it’s absolutely worth it!

    • Avatar
      The Pasta Project
      November 19, 2019 5:41 pm

      Thank you, Elaine! We love sharing our new-found knowledge!

  • Avatar
    November 15, 2019 10:58 pm

    Wow, this is such a hearty recipe! Love the addition of Umbrian peas – so unique!

    • Avatar
      The Pasta Project
      November 19, 2019 5:43 pm

      Thank you, Alena!

  • Avatar
    November 15, 2019 8:12 pm

    Such an interesting recipe! I never tried Umbrian wild peas before, but it looks tasty) very curious to try!)

  • Avatar
    November 15, 2019 6:06 am

    I have never heard of wild field peas! They look so tasty I hope I can find some, otherwise I’ll use lentils because this soup looks so yummy!

  • Avatar
    November 14, 2019 10:34 pm

    I love how you highlight recipe items that I’ve never heard of. I’d enjoy having the variety of legumes and other ingredients that you write about – it seems such an adventure.

  • Avatar
    November 14, 2019 6:20 pm

    I hadn’t heard the word guanciale in over 20 years, it’s funny how the brain stores certain information. But that’s besides the point!! I love your recipe for umbrian wild peas casarecce pasta!! So beautiful!! Love learning so much from your blog:)

  • Avatar
    November 14, 2019 5:02 pm

    Yummy! Looks like a scrumptious soup and I bet it’s pretty filling too. I have finally got my first trip to Italy set up – I will be in Friuli Venezia Giulia in March 🙂

    • Jacqui
      November 16, 2019 1:09 pm

      Yes this is a very hearty soup Kacie. It can be made with other legumes too of course! How exciting that you are coming to Italy in March. Whereabouts in Friuli Venezia Giulia will you be? It would be super to meet up!

  • Avatar
    Stine Mari
    November 14, 2019 4:35 pm

    I’ve never tried wild peas before, but I would love to try it. This recipe looks absolutely scrumptious.

  • Avatar
    November 14, 2019 12:37 pm

    You always have the most creative, interesting & delicious looking recipes! Thanks for sharing all your great creations!

  • Avatar
    Farrukh Aziz
    November 14, 2019 12:29 pm

    What a lovely winter meal to feast on! Looking forward to try it soon as my kids love pastas so much. Thanks for sharing 🙂

  • Avatar
    November 14, 2019 8:02 am

    I’ve never tried roveja peas before so I’m looking forward to trying this. We eat a lot of pasta and Italian dishes and it’s always fun to find something new and different!

  • Avatar
    Jere Cassidy
    November 13, 2019 8:46 pm

    You always provide such great information, even though I will never find these peas to use I just love reading your posts.

  • Avatar
    Analida Braeger
    November 13, 2019 4:07 am

    I love the background and history of the peas! This is fascinating! Thanks for sharing!

  • Avatar
    November 13, 2019 3:29 am

    I’ve never had pea soup with pasta, but that’s such a great addition to add some heartiness. Definitely plan on staying warm with this soup during the chilly months. Thanks for sharing!

  • Avatar
    November 13, 2019 1:31 am

    M family loved this for tonight’s dinner! I will be making again!

  • Avatar
    November 12, 2019 11:31 pm

    I’m definitely pinning this for later! How have I never heard of these peas before? This looks so hearty and perfect for this cold weather.

  • Avatar
    November 12, 2019 8:33 pm

    I’ve never cooked with Umbrian wild peas before, but I need to try it. This dish looks delicious.

  • Avatar
    Tamara J
    November 12, 2019 8:29 pm

    This is a big bowl of comfort! The pasta mixed with the legumes make for a delicious flavor profile. I’m going to add this to the menu now that it is starting to cool down a bit!

  • Avatar
    Veena Azmanov
    November 12, 2019 12:45 pm

    This is such an healthy meal. This soup is different . The combinations are yum. Best for the winters.

  • Avatar
    November 12, 2019 2:16 am

    Made this for the family and we all loved it! Perfect for rainy days.

  • Avatar
    November 12, 2019 1:52 am

    What a lovely recipe, with hearty wild peas and Italian pasta! Yum!!

  • Avatar
    November 12, 2019 1:37 am

    This looks so good and so comforting. I don’t have umbrian wild peas, but I do have plenty of chickpeas and lentils at home, so I’m going to try using those first. 🙂

  • Avatar
    Krissy Allori
    November 12, 2019 1:21 am

    This looks absolutely delicious. I’m going to be trying it out soon. Hopefully I can find the peas you make it with.

  • Avatar
    November 12, 2019 1:12 am

    I could drool over this recipe for eons…I think I had this when I was in Italy years ago. It looks amazing.

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