Soup No. 12: Pasta Piselli

Jan.24.10 § 2 Comments

I am broke.
The new focus of this blog is how to survive off soup when you’re broke as hell.
After making Christmas pea soup, I realized I’d taken too much money out of my budget for a little soup. I bought good quality Parmesan for that soup. Tsk, tsk, poor girl. You better cut that out.

I got a gift card for Christmas with the word FOOD written on it. I used it to buy a million canned goods I can use in soups and some vegetables for another batch of Mineral Broth. After a long day I was craving Italian comfort food. With the leftover peas and an abundance of vegetable broth, I made Pasta Piselli, a staple in my house as a child.
My parents always made this with onions and chicken broth. I used shallots because I had them, and you know how I feel about chicken broth. To make it taste like it did then, serve each both with a good sprinkle of salt. It reminds me of sodium-laden chicken broth.
Pasta Piselli is a traditional Italian dish. It means pasta with peas. I’ve discovered the true traditional recipe may actually be served in a tomato broth or sauce, but for some reason this is how my family makes it. I can remember us having Pasta Piselli for dinner at least once a month when I was a kid. It was as common as Escarole Soup after a while. It’s one of my favorites because I love pasta, I love peas and I love cheese, which it’s important to smother your bowl with.

Pasta Piselli
1 box ditalini or elbow macaroni
2 T olive oil
2 shallots or 1 onion, diced
2 cups frozen green peas
4 cups vegetable broth
A pinch of thyme
Salt and pepper to taste
Parmesan for serving

This is ridiculously quick and easy. Being as busy as I am now, I can only imagine the relief my parents must have felt when they looked in the cabinet and saw a can of peas and some elbow macaroni. We always had it with canned baby peas, Le Sueur actually, and elbows. But I had ditalini and frozen green peas on hand. To me, it’s interchangeable.
Boil the ditalini in a small sauce pan. You only need to use about 1/4 to 1/3 of a box depending on how much pasta you want.
In the meantime, in a heated soup pot, cook the shallots on medium heat. Don’t let the shallots carmelize, you just want to soften them. Add the thyme and a little bit of vegetable broth before you add the peas. Once the peas are in, pour in the rest of the vegetable broth and simmer the peas until they’re soft.
When the pasta is done, drain it and add to the soup pot. Serve with salt, pepper and Parmesan cheese.

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