Dive into a culinary journey where rustic flavors unite in a symphony of delight. Our pea soup with pasta and parmesan recipe, brimming with flavor, delivers comfort in every spoonful. This humble green elixir reinvents traditional comfort food with an Italian twist, celebrating each mealtime.
Unexpectedly sublime, its unique blend of ingredients satiates your hunger and your culinary curiosity. As you explore this recipe, your senses awaken, embarking on a gastronomic adventure. This isn’t just about satisfying your appetite—it’s about celebrating the joy of food and the art of cooking.
Let’s begin this delightful exploration together.
History Of Pea Soup With Pasta And Parmesan Soup
Steeped in culinary tradition, the pea soup with pasta and Parmesan holds its roots in rustic Italian kitchens. This dish, blending the heartiness of peas with the versatility of pasta, evolved from the need for filling, inexpensive meals that utilized available local produce.
Parmesan’s introduction was a game-changer, adding a luxurious layer of flavor that elevated the humble soup. Each region lent its touch, creating variations that kept the essence intact. Over time, this timeless recipe has traversed borders, becoming a global comfort food staple.
Interesting Facts About Pea Soup With Pasta And Parmesan
- Global Variations: Despite its Italian roots, variants of pea soup can be found worldwide. From the Scandinavian ‘ärtsoppa’ to the Canadian ‘Habitant,’ each culture has lent its unique touch to this hearty dish.
- Parmesan Rind: Traditional recipes often utilize the rind of the Parmesan cheese. Not only does it add a rich, umami flavor, but it also helps to minimize food waste.
- Seasonal Soup: This soup was historically a springtime dish, as that’s when fresh peas were harvested. Today, thanks to the availability of frozen peas, it’s enjoyed year-round.
- Nutritional Powerhouse: Pea soup is incredibly healthy, providing a good balance of protein, fiber, and vitamins. The addition of pasta and Parmesan creates a complete, nutritionally balanced meal.
- Slow Food Movement: Pea soup with pasta and Parmesan is a perfect example of the “slow food” movement, emphasizing home-cooked meals prepared with local and seasonal ingredients. It exemplifies how simple, quality ingredients can create a satisfying and sustainable dish.
What Makes Pea Soup With Pasta And Parmesan Recipe Special?
- Harmonious Balance: This recipe offers a perfect balance of flavors. The sweetness of the peas pairs beautifully with the nutty, salty hint of Parmesan and the satisfying texture of pasta.
- Nutritionally Dense: It’s not just delicious but also a nutrition powerhouse. The peas provide ample plant-based protein and fiber, pasta supplies carbohydrates for energy, and Parmesan adds calcium and other essential nutrients.
- Versatility: The recipe is incredibly versatile. It can serve as a starter, main course, or comfort food on a cold day, proving itself a culinary chameleon.
- Seasonal Adaptability: Fresh peas, frozen, or even dried ones can be used, making this soup a year-round delight.
- Simple Yet Elegant: Despite its simplicity, the soup can be easily elevated to an elegant dish with a simple garnish or a special kind of pasta, showcasing the beautiful adaptability of humble ingredients.
|asparagus, washed and trimmed||2-1/2 lbs|
|garlic, peeled||3 cloves|
|Spanish onion, peeled and diced||1|
|celery, diced||2 ribs|
|fennel, diced||1 bulb|
|Yukon Gold or red-skinned potatoes, roughly chopped (no need to peel them, really)||6 medium|
|vegetable or chicken stock||6 cups|
|white wine||1 cup|
|fresh basil, roughly chopped||8 leaves|
|fresh dill, roughly chopped||6 sprigs|
|chopped fresh tarragon leaves||1/4 cup|
|dry mustard (Colman’s recommended)||1 Tbsp|
|light cream (or milk, or omit altogether and add more stock or water)||2 cups|
|Kosher salt and fresh black pepper||To taste|
|hard-boiled eggs, sliced (for garnish)||2|
- Peas: Fresh peas are ideal in season, but frozen peas are a great substitute and often more convenient. Dried split peas can also be used; they’ll need a longer cooking time, creating a thicker, heartier soup.
- Pasta: Consider using small pasta shapes such as ditalini, orzo, or even broken spaghetti. They will blend well with the soup’s texture and are easier to eat.
- Parmesan: When possible, opt for Parmigiano-Reggiano, which has a complex, nuanced flavor that adds depth to the soup. Don’t discard the rind – add it to the soup while cooking for an extra infusion of umami.
- Stock: Homemade vegetable or chicken stock will always taste best, but a good quality store-bought stock will do just fine. The store forms the base of your soup, so pick one with good flavor.
- Herbs: Fresh herbs like rosemary, thyme, or parsley can add a layer of complexity to your soup. Remember to add them towards the end of cooking to preserve their flavor.
Can You Vary The Recipe With Other Ingredients?
- Proteins: You could add cooked chicken, ham, pancetta, or even crumbled sausage to the soup for an extra boost of protein.
- Beans: Consider adding cannellini beans or chickpeas for added fiber and texture.
- Greens: For a nutritional boost, stir in spinach, kale, or Swiss chard at the end of cooking.
- Grains: Substitute pasta with farro, barley, or even quinoa for a unique spin.
- Cheese: If Parmesan isn’t your favorite, use Pecorino Romano, Asiago, or a creamy Mascarpone.
- Spices: Introduce a bit of heat with a sprinkle of crushed red pepper flakes or add a dash of nutmeg for a warm, earthy note.
- In a large pot, melt the rich butter and infuse it with the aromatic medley of garlic, onion, celery, and fennel.
- Introduce tender potatoes, vibrant asparagus, nourishing stock, and a splash of white wine, allowing them to simmer together until the vegetables reach a state of tender perfection.
- Enhance the symphony of flavors by stirring in the fragrant notes of basil, dill, tarragon, and a touch of dry mustard. With the utmost care, blend the soup until its texture becomes irresistibly velvety.
- For an indulgent touch, stir in the creamy richness of cream and season the masterpiece with a sprinkle of salt and pepper to taste.
- Finally, serve this soul-warming delight piping hot, crowned with the delicate beauty of sliced hard-boiled eggs as a garnish, and relish in the comforting sensation with every spoonful.
Variations, Add-Ons, And Toppings
- Vegan: Substitute the Parmesan for nutritional yeast to maintain the cheesy flavor but make the dish vegan-friendly.
- Gluten-Free: Use gluten-free pasta or substitute it with a grain like quinoa or rice.
- Creamy: Puree some or all of the soup for a creamier texture.
- Protein: Ham, bacon, or cooked chicken can add extra flavor and protein.
- Vegetables: Sautéed mushrooms, diced bell peppers, or sun-dried tomatoes could provide an extra burst of flavor.
- Beans: White beans or chickpeas could give additional heartiness and protein.
- Croutons: Add a nice crunch to each bite.
- Herbs: Fresh herbs like parsley, basil, or dill can brighten the dish.
- Cheese: Extra Parmesan or another hard cheese like pecorino or asiago can bring another layer of flavor.
- Nuts: Toasted pine nuts or slivered almonds add an interesting texture contrast.
- Olive Oil Drizzle: A final drizzle of good quality olive oil can add richness and depth.
- Lemon Zest: A bit of lemon zest can add a fresh, zingy contrast to the soup’s flavors.
Scaling The Recipe
- To increase the recipe’s yield, multiply the ingredients’ quantities by the desired factor. For example, if you want to double the recipe:
- 2-1/2 lbs asparagus becomes 5 lbs asparagus
- 3 Tbsp butter becomes 6 Tbsp butter
- 3 cloves of garlic become 6 cloves of garlic
- And so on…
- To decrease the recipe’s yield, divide the ingredients’ quantities by the desired factor. For example, if you want to make half of the formula:
- 2-1/2 lbs asparagus becomes 1-1/4 lbs asparagus
- 3 Tbsp butter becomes 1-1/2 Tbsp butter
- 3 cloves garlic becomes 1-1/2 cloves garlic
- And so on…
What Is Used For Garnishing?
- Cheese: A sprinkle of freshly grated Parmesan is a classic choice that adds an extra layer of flavor.
- Herbs: Fresh herbs such as parsley, basil, or mint could provide a refreshing contrast to the soup’s richness. Remember to chop them before serving to maintain their vibrant color and flavor.
- Croutons: Homemade croutons can provide a delightful crunch. Try using crusty bread, drizzled with olive oil and toasted until golden.
- Drizzle of Olive Oil: A drizzle of good quality extra virgin olive oil just before serving can add depth and shine to the soup.
- Pea Shoots: If you can find them, pea shoots make an attractive, thematic garnish and add a fresh, slightly sweet flavor.
Can I Make Soup In A Slow Cooker Or Instant Pot?
- Sauté your aromatics (such as onions, garlic, carrots, and celery) on the stove before adding them to the slow cooker for added depth of flavor. However, if you’re in a hurry, you can skip this step and put everything directly into the slow cooker.
- Add the peas, stock, herbs, or seasonings directly into the slow cooker.
- Cook on low for 6-8 hours or high for 3-4 hours.
- About 30 minutes before serving, add the pasta directly into the slow cooker to cook. This way, it won’t get too soft.
- Stir in the grated Parmesan just before serving for that rich, cheesy flavor.
- Use the sauté function to cook your aromatics before adding peas, stock, herbs, or seasonings.
- Lock the lid in place, set the valve to sealing, and cook on high pressure for 15 minutes.
- After the cooking time is up, let the pressure release naturally for 10 minutes, then carefully do a quick release for any remaining pressure.
- Use the sauté function again to bring the soup to a boil and add the pasta. Cook until the pasta is al dente.
- Stir in the Parmesan cheese just before serving.
Can I Use Store-Bought Broth, Or Should I Make My Own?
- Convenience is the main advantage of store-bought broth. It’s ready to use and available at any time.
- It’s consistent in flavor, which can be helpful if you want predictable results.
- Quality can vary significantly between brands, so try a few to find one you like. Look for low-sodium versions to control the salt content of your soup better.
- Some store-bought broths can contain additives or preservatives, so if this concerns you, read the labels carefully.
- Homemade broth can offer a deeper, more complex flavor, especially if you roast the bones (for meat-based broths) or vegetables before simmering them.
- It allows more control over the ingredients, including the salt content and the type of vegetables, herbs, and spices used.
- Broth can be time-consuming but can be made in large batches and stored in the freezer for future use.
- It can be a good way to reduce food waste, as it can be made from scraps like vegetable peelings or chicken bones.
Can I Use Different Types Of Fish/Meat/Vegetable/Pasta?
- Fish/Meat: While the traditional recipe excludes fish or meat, add your favorite for extra protein. Shredded chicken, diced ham, crumbled sausage, or even pieces of salmon could be delicious. Make sure any meat is cooked thoroughly before adding to the soup.
- Vegetables: You can certainly add more vegetables to this soup. Root vegetables like carrots or parsnips, greens like kale or spinach, or other legumes like lentils or chickpeas could work well. Remember to adjust the cooking time to ensure all ingredients are properly cooked.
- Pasta: Feel free to experiment with different pasta shapes. Small shapes like orzo, ditalini, or mini shells work best. If needed, you could also use whole wheat pasta for extra fiber or a gluten-free variety.
Success Tips – Tips And Tricks For Making The Soup
- Make sure to trim the woody ends of the asparagus before using them in the recipe.
- Use fresh, high-quality ingredients for the best flavor.
- Make sure to cook the vegetables to maintain their vibrant color and texture.
- Adjust the seasoning to your taste preferences, adding more herbs or spices if desired.
- For a lighter version, substitute milk or additional stock for the cream.
- Garnish with fresh herbs or sliced hard-boiled eggs for an extra presentation touch.
- Organize Your Ingredients: Before you start, gather all your ingredients. It’s easier and more efficient to have everything ready before you begin.
- Vegetable Prep: Dice your vegetables uniformly. This makes the soup look more appealing and ensures everything cooks evenly.
- Parmesan Rind: If you’re using Parmesan rind, save them ahead of time and store them in your freezer. This reduces waste and adds a rich depth to your soups and stews.
- Pasta: Choose small pasta shapes that can fit on a spoon, and remember that pasta will continue to absorb liquid as the soup sits, so consider cooking it separately and adding it just before serving if you expect leftovers.
Cooking Time Tips
- Please Don’t Rush the Sauté: Take time to sauté the vegetables until they are soft properly. This will help to build a flavorful base for your soup.
- Simmer: Allow the soup to simmer gently. A slow, steady simmer will help the flavors to meld together without risking burning the soup.
- Check Pasta Doneness: Pasta can go from perfectly cooked to overcooked quickly. Start checking it a few minutes before the package instructions suggest it should be done.
- Add Parmesan Late: Stir in the Parmesan towards the end of cooking. If added too early, it can stick to the bottom of the pot and potentially burn.
- Adjust Seasonings: Taste and adjust seasonings just before serving. The flavors can change during cooking, so it’s always a good idea to give it one last taste.
The nutritional values of the recipe can vary based on specific ingredients and serving sizes. However, a general estimate per serving (assuming four servings) is as follows: Calories: 250-300, Fat: 15-20g, Carbohydrates: 30-35g, Protein: 6-8g, Fiber: 5-7g.
Please note that these values are approximate and can vary based on the ingredients used and any modifications made to the recipe.
What Are The Total Calories In The Recipe?
The actual calorie count could be higher or lower depending on the exact amounts of each ingredient used. The total calorie count for the recipe can range from approximately 250 to 300 calories.
Dietary Restrictions Of The Recipe
- Gluten-Free: Regular pasta contains gluten. However, this issue can easily be resolved by using a gluten-free pasta option. Check your broth as well, as some brands may contain gluten.
- Dairy-Free/Lactose Intolerant: Parmesan cheese is a dairy product. If you’re catering to a dairy-free or lactose-intolerant diet, you can omit the cheese or substitute it with a dairy-free cheese alternative.
- Vegan/Vegetarian: The base recipe is vegetarian unless you use a meat-based broth. For vegans, replace the parmesan cheese with a vegan-friendly substitute, like nutritional yeast or a slice of vegan cheese.
- Low-Sodium: If you’re watching your sodium intake, use a low-sodium or no-salt-added broth, and be mindful of how much salt you add. Parmesan cheese also has high salt content, so adjust accordingly.
- Low-FODMAP: This diet is often followed by people with IBS. Peas and pasta are high in FODMAPs, so this recipe may only be suitable with significant modifications.
- Nut Allergy: This recipe doesn’t contain nuts, but some parmesan substitutes for vegan diets may be nut-based, so be cautious if you’re catering to a nut-free diet.
Health Benefits Of The Recipe
- High in Fiber: Both peas and pasta (especially if you choose a whole-grain variety) are good sources of dietary fiber. Fiber is important for maintaining a healthy digestive system and can help to control blood sugar levels, lower cholesterol levels, and aid in weight management.
- Protein-Rich: Peas are a surprisingly good source of plant-based protein, and parmesan cheese adds some protein to this dish. Protein is essential for building and repairing tissues, among other functions.
- Vitamins and Minerals: Peas are packed with vitamins and minerals, including vitamin K, vitamin C, vitamin A, and manganese. They also contain a good amount of B vitamins and iron. Parmesan cheese can contribute calcium, which is important for bone health.
- Heart Health: Research suggests that consuming peas and other legumes may help to reduce the risk of heart disease. This may be due to their dietary fiber content and other nutrients like potassium and magnesium.
- Satiety: The combination of fiber and protein in this soup can help to keep you feeling full, which may aid in weight management.
- Low in Fat: This soup can be quite common in fat, depending on how much oil and cheese you use.
Can I Make Soup Lower In Sodium?
- Low-Sodium Broth: Use a low-sodium or sodium-free broth. Many grocery stores carry low-sodium versions of both vegetable and chicken broth.
- Control the Salt: Add less salt or none during cooking. Many recipes call for salt “to taste,” giving you control over the sodium content.
- Fresh Ingredients: Use fresh or frozen peas instead of canned, as canned vegetables often have added sodium.
- Spices and Herbs: Boost flavor without adding sodium by using a variety of herbs and spices, like garlic, basil, oregano, or thyme. Freshly ground black pepper can also add a kick without contributing sodium.
- Cheese: Parmesan cheese can be high in sodium, so use it sparingly. Remember, a little often goes a long way with this strongly flavored cheese.
Can I Make Soup Lower In Sugar?
- Natural Ingredients: Use fresh or frozen peas instead of canned ones, as canned vegetables sometimes contain added sugar.
- Broth: Ensure the broth you’re using doesn’t contain added sugars. Some brands might add sugar for flavor, so checking the label is always good.
- Pasta: Opt for whole-grain pasta, which typically has a lower glycemic index than white pasta and can help prevent blood sugar spikes.
- Avoid Sweeteners: Some soup recipes may use sugar or other sweeteners to balance flavors. In this case, you can omit it or use a sugar substitute if necessary.
- Cheese: Parmesan cheese doesn’t contain sugar, so it’s a good choice for a lower-sugar meal.
How To Serve The Soup At Its Best?
- Temperature: Serve the soup hot, but not too hot. Letting it rest for a minute after cooking will allow the flavors to meld and the temperature to become just right for eating.
- Garnish: Consider topping the soup with a little extra-grated Parmesan, a sprinkle of fresh herbs, or a drizzle of high-quality olive oil. Not only does this make the dish look more appealing, but it can also enhance the flavor.
- Bread Pairing: A crusty piece of bread or a breadstick on the side is a traditional accompaniment to soup. It provides textural contrast and is excellent for dipping.
- Salad: A light, fresh salad can complement the hearty soup well. A simple green salad or a tangy vinaigrette-based slaw could be great options.
- Drink Pairing: A glass of white wine, like a Sauvignon Blanc, can pair nicely with this soup. For a non-alcoholic option, consider a crisp iced tea or sparkling water with a twist of lemon.
- Serve in a Preheated Bowl: To ensure the soup stays warm, consider heating the serving bowls slightly before ladling the soup into them.
Perfect Side Dishes To Complement The Recipe
- Crusty Bread or Breadsticks: As mentioned earlier, fresh, warm bread is a classic soup accompaniment. It’s great for scooping up the last bits of soup and adds a delightful contrast in texture.
- Simple Green Salad: A salad with mixed greens, cherry tomatoes, cucumber, and a light vinaigrette can provide a fresh and crisp contrast to the hearty soup.
- Roasted Vegetables: Seasonal roasted vegetables, like Brussels sprouts, asparagus, or bell peppers, can be a colorful and healthy addition.
- Grilled Cheese Sandwich: Pair your soup with a classic grilled cheese sandwich for a more indulgent meal. The grilled bread’s crunchiness and the cheese’s meltiness work wonderfully with the creamy soup.
- Quinoa Salad: A light quinoa salad with vegetables and a citrus dressing can add protein and a refreshing flavor to your meal.
- Charcuterie Board: A selection of cured meats, cheeses, olives, and fruits can be a fun and versatile side that lets everyone customize their meal.
How Long Can We Store The Soup?
The soup can be stored in the refrigerator for 3-4 days. Keeping it properly in an airtight container is important to maintain its freshness. Let the soup cool down before transferring it to the refrigerator. When reheating, do so gently on the stovetop until heated through.
If you plan to store the soup for longer, it can be frozen for 2-3 months. However, it’s best to omit the cream if you intend to freeze it, adding it after thawing and reheating the soup to maintain its texture and taste.
Can I Make Soup In Advance?
- Pasta: If you’re making the soup beforehand, try to cook the pasta separately and add it when you’re ready to serve. This is because pasta continues to absorb liquid as it sits, which can make it overly soft and could also thicken your soup more than desired.
- Storage: After cooking the soup, let it cool to room temperature before storing it in the fridge or freezer. Use airtight containers to keep the soup. It can last 3-4 days in the refrigerator or up to 3 months in the freezer.
- Reheating: When ready to serve the soup, reheat it on the stove over medium heat. If you’ve frozen the soup, it’s best to let it thaw in the refrigerator overnight before reheating.
- Add-Ons: Add the cooked pasta (if stored separately) and any fresh herbs or a sprinkle of Parmesan just before serving to maintain their texture and flavor.
What Can We Do With Leftovers?
- Asparagus Soup: Reheat the leftover soup and enjoy it as a delicious lunch or dinner option for the next day.
- Asparagus Frittata: Use the leftover asparagus and potatoes to make a frittata. Mix them with beaten eggs, seasonings, and cheese, then bake until set. It makes for a tasty breakfast or brunch dish.
- Asparagus Salad: Chop the leftover asparagus into bite-sized pieces and toss them with fresh greens, cherry tomatoes, and a vinaigrette dressing for a refreshing salad.
- Asparagus Risotto: Incorporate the leftover asparagus into a creamy risotto by adding it during the last few minutes of cooking. It adds both flavor and color to the dish.
- Asparagus and Potato Hash: Sauté the leftover asparagus and potatoes with diced onions and other desired vegetables. Serve it as a hearty side dish for breakfast or alongside grilled meats.
Special Tools And Equipment
- Large Pot: A big pot must accommodate the ingredients and allow proper cooking and simmering.
- Cutting Board and Knife: You’ll need a cutting board to chop the vegetables and a sharp knife to trim the asparagus, peel the potatoes, and dice the onion, celery, and fennel.
- Vegetable Peeler: AA vegetable peeler will be useful for that task if you choose to peel the potatoes if you choose to peel the potatoes.
- Blender or Immersion Blender: To blend the soup until smooth, you can use either a countertop blender or an immersion blender.
- Measuring Spoons and Cups: Accurate measurements are important for the recipe’s success, so measuring spoons and cups on hand is recommended.
- Ladle or Soup Spoon: A ladle or large soup spoon will help you serve the hot soup.
- Stovetop or Range: You will need a heat source, such as a stovetop or range, to cook the ingredients.
- Optional: If you choose to garnish the soup with sliced hard-boiled eggs, you will need a tool for boiling and peeling the eggs.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I Use A Different Type Of Potato?
Yes, you can use other varieties of potatoes, such as russet or fingerling. The choice of potato may affect the texture slightly, but it will still work well in the soup.
Can I Substitute The Asparagus With Another Vegetable?
While the recipe is specifically designed for asparagus, you can experiment with other green vegetables like broccoli or spinach. Keep in mind that the flavors and cooking times may vary.
Can I Make The Soup In Advance?
You can make the soup in advance and store it in the refrigerator. Reheat gently on the stovetop before serving, and adjust the seasonings if needed.
Can I Freeze The Soup?
It is possible to freeze the soup, but it’s best to omit the cream if you plan to freeze it. Add the cream after thawing and reheating the soup to maintain its texture and taste.
Can I Make The Soup Without Using Alcohol?
You can omit the white wine if you prefer not to use alcohol. You can substitute it with additional stock or a splash of lemon juice for a touch of acidity.
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