Wednesday, 6 July 2016

Minestrone di Piselli

Nonstop peas for the next 2 weeks! Although we did pick our first zucchini, so other things are coming.

This was a thoroughly delightful light but filling soup, and it didn't take long to make either. Like most broth and noodle soups though, it needs to be eaten promptly; leftovers don't keep well.

4 servings
30 minutes prep time

Minestrone di Piselli or Summer Pea Soup

Blanch the Tomatoes; Cook the Pasta:
2 medium greenhouse tomatoes
1/2 teaspoon salt
100 grams small soup pasta

Bring a small (1 quart) pot of water to a boil. Blanch the tomatoes for 1 minute, then lift them out (keep the water boiling) and rinse them in cold water. Add the salt and pasta to the boiling water and cook until 2 minutes short of done, according to the instructions on the packet. Drain well. Rinse in cool water if the soup is not ready for them yet.

Meanwhile, peel and chop the tomatoes. Set them aside. Psst! Your peas, called for below, must be shelled by now as well.

Make the Soup:
3 to 4 garlic scapes
5 to 6 button mushrooms
1 medium zucchini
8 to 12 large basil leaves
1 tablespoon olive or sunflower oil
3 cups unsalted chicken or vegetable stock
2 tablespoons very finely grated Parmesan cheese (optional)
salt & freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 cup shelled peas (1 quart before shelling)
1 cup snap or snow peas, or a mix of the two

Wash and trim the tough ends from the garlic scapes. Cut them into small pieces, about the size of the shelled peas. Clean the mushrooms and slice them first one way and then the other, to form little logs. Wash and trim the zucchini, cut it in quarters lengthwise, and then into slices. Wash the basil, roll it into a cigar shape, and cut it into thin strips.

Heat the oil in the bottom of a larger (2 quart)  heavy-bottomed pot. Add the garlic scapes, mushrooms, and zucchini, and cook, stirring regularly, for several minutes until softened and slightly browned. Add half of the basil, mix it in for a minute then add the diced peeled tomatoes. Again, cook for a minute or two, stirring regularly.

Add the chicken or vegetable stock, and bring it up to a simmer. Season with the Parmesan, and salt and pepper to taste. The cheese can be omitted; in that case you will need a bit more salt. When the soup has simmered for several minutes, add the peas, both shelled and snow or snap, along with the well drained pasta, and cook for another 3 minutes.

Serve the soup with the remaining shredded basil leaves sprinkled over top of it. 

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