Veggie Soup with Pastina & Parmesan

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My husband, Joe, hates peas.  My sister, Sarah, hates peas.  She even won a school contest when we were little for a poem she wrote about how much she dislikes peas.  So I don’t cook a lot of peas.

Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way – let me recommend this soup with peas!  I promise, you won’t even notice them.  Instead, you’ll reap their health benefits while savoring the parmesan and vegetable flavors that command this dish.

There are a million ways to make chicken noodle soup.  With or without chicken.  With or without noodles.  Adding heat with sriracha or your other favorite hot sauce.  Adding cheese. Using a range of vegetables and other additions.  The list goes on and on.  So here’s one that has an ingredient that’s a difficult sell in my house – peas.  I got the original recipe from a Food Network Magazine article from last year and adjusted to my tastes.  Don’t worry, Joe got on board once he had a bite of this dish.

Ingredients:

  • 1 tbsp EVOO
  • 2 stalks, Celery
  • 2 Carrots
  • 2 Shallots
  • 2 cloves Garlic
  • 1/2 tsp Kosher Salt
  • 1 tsp Dried Thyme
  • 1 piece of Parmesan Rind (see substitution, below)
  • 4 cups Chicken Stock (see substitution, below)
  • 1 1/3 cups Pastina
  • 1 cup Frozen Peas, thawed
  • 1 Lemon
  • Parmesan, for topping

Here’s what I did:

First, do all the prep.  Wash the celery stalks and discard the white bottoms, peel the carrots.  Finely chop the celery, carrots, shallots and garlic.

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My mirepoix – A rainbow of celery, carrots and onions

In a soup pot, heat about 1 tbsp olive oil over medium-high heat.  Add the celery, carrots, shallots and garlic, stirring often, until softened (about 5-6 minutes).

Add the thyme, salt and parmesan rind. Then add 4 cups of chicken stock and 1 cup of Bring to a simmer.

Add the pastina, return the pot to a simmer and cook until pasta is al dente, about 10 minutes.

Remove the parmesan rind.  Stir in the peas, along with the zest and juice of half a lemon. Ladle into bowls and top with grated parmesan.

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A few notes, FYI:

What is pastina?  It’s just little pasta!  You’ll see in the grocery aisle, there are lots of miniature versions of your favorite pasta shapes – that’s pastina.

If you want to make this totally vegetarian, use all water instead of chicken stock.  Add a little extra salt.

Parmesan rind is the hard edge of the block of cheese.  If you’ve already discarded it or plan to use pre-shredded parmesan at the end of the recipe, you can instead just add 1/8 cup of shredded parmesan when the rind is supposed to go in the pot.

 


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