Doctor's Review: Medicine on the Move

October 25, 2021
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Minestra di Pasta e Piselli

Soups are always a good way to introduce children to vegetables. Best of all, this classic soup is fast and easy to make during the work week.

1 Tbsp. (15 ml) unsalted butter

1 Tbsp. (15 ml) extra-virgin olive oil

1 c. (115 g) finely chopped spring onion or white onion

2 oz (55 g) pancetta, cut into small dice

½ tsp. minced fresh marjoram or thyme

Freshly ground black pepper

6-7 c. (1.4-1.7 L) homemade chicken or vegetable broth or best quality low-sodium, fat-free commercial chicken broth

1 small piece rind from wedge of Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese (optional)

1 ½-1¾ c. (170-215 g) tubetti, ditalini, conchigliette (small shells), or other small pasta shape

1½ c. (215 g) frozen peas

1 cup (115 g) freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

Kosher or fine sea salt (optional)

Warm the butter and olive oil in a Dutch oven or other heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat. When the butter is melted, add the onion and pancetta, stirring to coat them thoroughly. Sauté for 5 minutes, reducing the heat to medium-low if necessary to prevent the onion from burning. Sprinkle in the marjoram and a generous grind of pepper and continue to sauté for another 5 minutes, or until the onion is translucent and the pancetta has just begun to crisp but is still mostly tender.

Pour in 6 cups (1.4 litres) of the broth and raise the heat to medium-high. Toss in the Parmigiano rind, if using. Bring the broth to a boil. Stir in the pasta and peas, using 1 ½ cups (170 grams) pasta for a soupier soup and 1¾ cups (215 grams) pasta for a thicker soup. Cook the pasta until al dente (the cooking time will depend on the brand and shape). Add an additional splash of broth if the soup seems too thick.

Remove the soup from the heat and stir in ½ cup (55 grams) of the Parmigiano. Taste and add salt and additional pepper, if you like. Ladle the soup into warmed shallow, rimmed bowls and sprinkle with the remaining cheese. Serve immediately. Makes 4 servings.

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