April gives us the first moments of springtime bounty, when our grocery bags that were once loaded with root vegetables take a lighter, greener turn. A quick recipe like this Pea, Pesto, and Arugula Soup from Sophie Dahl’s Very Fond of Food: A Year in Recipes (Ten Speed Press, April 2012) will leave ample time to savor the new-found sunshine. Use fresh English peas instead of Sophie’s recommended frozen ones, and–with the powerful punch of arugula and basil–this velvety soup will scream Spring!
Pea, Pesto, and Arugula Soup
From Sophie Dahl’s Very Fond of Food
For the pesto
A large handful of fresh
1 clove garlic, peeled and
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
31/2 cups/875ml 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 10minutes. Add the peas and arugula, bring back to a boil, and cook for another 3 or 4minutes 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 cold, add it to the blender when you are puréeing the batches.