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March 31, 2011

Recipe for pea soup with pasta and parmesan

Pea soup with pasta and parmesan

In the house where I grew up, gigantic bags of frozen peas and carrots filled the freezer and, all too often, found their way to the dinner table. I detested everything about them: the artificially-enhanced color, the uniform shape of the carrots, the bland flavor, the fact that they were always overcooked. Or undercooked. I was scarred for life. And, yet, I found a bag of peas in my freezer yesterday. Not the bag we use as an ice pack, but a real, unused, never-been-thawed bag of peas. This recipe is my attempt to banish the bad frozen-peas-and-carrots memories, and while I'm not quite ready to try frozen carrots, I have to admit that frozen peas make a fine soup, especially at this time of year when we don't yet have tender fresh peas from the garden.

Pea soup with pasta and parmesan

Serves 4; can be doubled.

Ingredients

1 tsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 tsp butter
1 large shallot, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2-1/2 cups frozen baby sweet peas, divided (do not defrost)
1 tsp dried oregano
3 cups chicken or vegetable broth
3/4 cup tiny pasta
3 Tbsp grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, plus extra for garnish
Coarse sea salt and fresh black pepper, to taste

Directions

In a 4- or 5-quart Dutch oven or heavy sauce pan, combine the olive oil and butter over medium heat. Add the shallot and garlic and cook, stirring, for 1 minute, until just softened. Add 2 cups of the peas, plus the oregano. Cook, stirring to keep the peas from sticking, for 2 minutes. Pour in the broth, and raise heat to high. Bring to the boil, then reduce heat to simmer, cover, and cook for 10 minutes.

Remove the pot from the heat and, with an immersion blender, puree until smooth. (Or, if you're using a stand blender, let the soup cool for a few minutes, then puree in batches, and return to the pot.)

Stir in the remaining 1/2 cup of peas, and the pasta. Again, bring the soup to the boil over high heat, and reduce heat to simmer. Cook for 5 minutes, uncovered, stirring often to keep the pasta and whole peas from sticking. If the soup is thickening too much, add 1/2 cup of water. After 5 minutes, grate the cheese directly into the pot with a Microplane® or box grater, and season with salt and pepper to taste (this soup loves quite a bit of black pepper, so don't be timid).

Continue cooking for 5 minutes more, or until the pasta is soft. If the soup is too thick, add more water or stock to achieve the texture you like.

Ladle into individual serving bowls, and garnish with grated cheese.

Print recipe only.

Comments

1
Posted by: Pauline | March 31, 2011 at 09:12 AM

I 've been looking for a pea soup recipe with clear broth. Have you ever come across such a recipe?

2
Posted by: Lydia | March 31, 2011 at 09:15 AM

Pauline, if you skip the purée step here, you would have a broth-based pea soup. If you do that, you might cut down to 2 cups of peas (or increase the amount of broth), to achieve the lightness you want.

3
Posted by: CJ McD | March 31, 2011 at 10:14 AM

Frozen carrots- ick. Frozen peas- Mmmm!

The soup- Quick, easy, pantry friendly, and delicious.

4
Posted by: susan g | March 31, 2011 at 11:11 AM

I recently found that a big bag of organic carrots in the refrigerator (in the garage, New England winter) had frozen. I brought them into the kitchen, put them in the (real) freezer to see if they could be redeemed. So far, so good, only one left -- they don't work well sliced and cooked (kind of rubbery), but they're just fine if well-cooked in a soup that will be pureed. (Strange that the other things in the vegetable drawer did not freeze!) ...so this probably applies to other frozen veggies. I'll have to start with this soup.

5
Posted by: Kalynskitchen | March 31, 2011 at 11:36 AM

Oh, that is such a pretty soup! And the addition of Parmesan would make it for me!

6
Posted by: Lydia | March 31, 2011 at 03:10 PM

CJ, I'm with you. Never could bring myself to eat those perfectly square, luminescent orange frozen carrots.

Susan, that's great to know, because I, too, have been known to leave things in the New England freezer (trunk of my car) or on the porch sometimes.

Kalyn, the combination of cheese and peas was really delicious. And the color just screams "spring".

7
Posted by: Maris (In Good Taste) | March 31, 2011 at 06:15 PM

This looks like it could easily become a favorite of mine.

8
Posted by: Liz | January 5, 2013 at 11:27 AM

I am not big fan of peas, but this looks really good. I think I may try it. Thanks for the recipe. Great blog. :)

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  • I'm Lydia Walshin, a longtime food writer who lives and cooks in a real log house. If I could, I'd eat Chinese noodles, grapes, ice cream and soup every day.
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