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Minestra di Pasta e Piselli

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Yields four generous servings.

  • To learn more, read:
    Using Pastas in Soup
  • by from Fine Cooking
    Issue 32

The prosciutto and lard add lots of flavor to this soup, but if you can’t get any, use butter and olive oil instead.

  • 1-1/2 oz. slice of prosciutto (about 1/4 inch thick), roughly chopped
  • 1/4 cup lard (or 2 Tbs. butter and 2 Tbs. olive oil)
  • 1 medium onion, roughly chopped
  • 1 large clove garlic, roughly chopped  
  • 12 large fresh basil leaves
  • 8 cups homemade or low-salt canned chicken stock
  • 1/2 cup stelline, orzo, acini di pepe, or other tiny soup pasta 
  • 1/2 cup peas
  • 1/2 cup finely diced carrot
  • 1/2 cup finely diced fennel
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • Lemon wedges
  • Freshly ground Parmigiano-Reggiano

In a food processor, blend the prosciutto, lard, onion, garlic, and basil until all the pieces are minuscule, scraping down the sides occasionally. Alternatively, chop everything very finely with a knife. Put this mixture (called a battuto) in a large saucepan and cook over medium heat until the onions are soft and everything looks mushy, 8 to 10 minutes, stirring frequently. Add the chicken stock. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and add the pasta. Simmer 5 minutes. Add the peas, carrots, and fennel, simmering until both the pasta and the vegetables are just tender, about another 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Ladle into bowls, add a squeeze of lemon, sprinkle with Parmigiano-Reggiano, and serve immediately.

nutrition information (per serving):
Calories (kcal): 300; Fat (g): fat g 17; Fat Calories (kcal): 150; Saturated Fat (g): sat fat g 7; Protein (g): protein g 14; Monounsaturated Fat (g): 7; Carbohydrates (g): carbs g 22; Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 2; Sodium (mg): sodium mg 840; Cholesterol (mg): cholesterol mg 25; Fiber (g): fiber g 3;

Photo: Grey Crawford

Simple recipe, very nice flavor. A nice, light Italian soup. The squeeze of lemon is essential to balancing the soup at the end.

Very easy to make. Good flavor.

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