Sweet peas, nutty pesto and peppery arugula combine to make a boldly flavorful soup. This Pea, Pesto and Arugula Soup is deliciously savory, yet quick and easy to whip up. Invite guests over for a light lunch in which this dish is the feature. This recipe is excerpted from Very Fond of Food: A Year in Recipes (Ten Speed Press, 2012) by inspiring chef and rising food star Sophie Dahl. Favoring natural sweeteners, minimal meat, and abundant produce, the dishes in this cookbook satisfy yet never feel ascetic. This Pea, Pesto and Arugula Soup recipe is taken from the chapter “Spring Lunches.”
Pea, Pesto and Arugula Soup Recipe
For the homemade pesto
A large handful of fresh basil leaves
1 clove garlic, peeled and roughly chopped
A few tablespoons of pine nuts
4 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 cup/25 g grated Parmesan cheese
Salt and pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small onion, peeled and finely chopped
2 small zucchini, chopped
3 1/2 cups/875 ml chicken or vegetable stock
1 package (1 pound/450 g) frozen peas
A large handful of arugula
Place all of the pesto ingredients in a blender or food processor and whiz up until you have a green, bubbly sauce, adding a splash of water if the pesto is a little thick. Taste, season, and adjust anything that needs adjusting.
In a large saucepan, heat the olive oil and soften the onion. Add the zucchini, then pour in the stock and simmer on low for 8 to 10 minutes. Add the peas and arugula, bring back to a boil, and cook for another 3 or 4 minutes until the vegetables are tender.
Let the soup cool for 15 minutes or so and then, in careful batches, mix in a blender until you have a velvety purée. Reheat in the saucepan or serve cold, as it works either way. You can either run 4 tablespoons of pesto through the soup when you’re serving or reheating, if you are. Or, if serving Pea, Pesto and Arugula Soup cold, add it to the blender when you are puréeing the batches.
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Reprinted with permission from Very Fond of Food: A Year in Recipes by Sophie Dahl, copyright © 2011. Published by Ten Speed Press, a division of Random House, Inc. Photo credit: Jan Baldwin © 2011