Mr. Italicano and I were recently in Sardegna, an island off the west coast of Italy. Sun. Beaches. Wine. Seafood. Relax. It was the first time in months where we actually unplugged from our busy schedules. It felt so good to take things slow :: piano, unwind and detach from the online world. Well…almost. I couldn’t help resist posting some photos of Sardegna, it’s just too beautiful not to share!
Now we’re back in Correggio, Emilia-Romagna and are melting in the humid heat. These hot days kill any ambition that I have to cook things on the stove, let alone bake. Thanks to the tormenting tiger mosquitos outside I’m not too big on grilling either. Therefore, I look for recipes that I can make quickly and that will yield a large batch so we can eat leftovers for a few days and I can stay out of the hot kitchen. My go-to summer meals are quinoa salads (constantly substituting in season vegetables) or soups that are delicious when eaten cold, like this delicious pea and basil soup. Depending on where you live, you still may be able to find fresh peas in the market or garden; otherwise, frozen :: surgelati peas work just dandy as well. (I usually buy a lot of fresh peas when they are in season and then store them in the freezer to use in the following months.)
Even though it’s hot and humid :: umido and I don’t have much desire to cook, I have been recipe testing like crazy for my upcoming cooking show events (July 9th, 16th and 23rd) that will take place at the new Smeg store in Milan! I’ve created a number of delicious new recipes based on different themes using Smeg’s new 50’s style kitchen line of small appliances (stand mixer, toaster, blender and kettle). You can check out more details about my July events here on this website. I hope to see you there in person!
Note for all email subscribers: I haven’t disappeared! This week I realized that there was a technical problem with my recipes being delivered by email. I don’t want to fill your inboxes with the 12 recipes since then, so go directly to my blog if you are looking for more yummy recipes!
- For the vegetable broth:
- 4 cups water
- 2 carrots, each cut in four
- 3 celery stalks, each cut in four
- ½ onion, cut in four
- 1 clove garlic, peeled
- For the soup:
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- ½ white onion, peeled and finely chopped
- 4 cups shelled fresh or frozen peas
- 10 basil leaves
- ½ cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese
- Salt and black pepper, to taste
- 4 slices of whole wheat bread
- 1 handful of fresh herbs (basil, parsley, chives etc.), finely chopped
- Bring the water to boil in a medium sized soup pot. Add the carrots, celery, onion and garlic. Boil for 10-45 minutes depending on how much of a hurry you are in. The more you let the broth boil, the more flavorful it will be, although I’ve also let it boil for just 10 minutes and it works just fine.
- In the meantime, heat the extra virgin olive oil in a large skillet and add the onions. Cook over medium heat until they are soft, about 5 minutes, stirring often. Add the peas and one ladle of the broth that you are preparing.
- Toast the bread in a toaster and whiz the slices into breadcrumbs using a blender until coarsely ground. Put the breadcrumbs in a medium sized skillet, add a swirl of extra virgin olive oil and the fresh herbs. Toast for 3-4 minutes until golden and slightly crunchy.
- Filter the broth with a fine mesh strainer and return the liquid to the soup pot. Pour in the pea and onion mixture and bring to a simmer for 10 minutes. Let cool, then whiz in a blender. This soup is fantastic cold or reheated. Serve with a swirl of extra virgin olive oil and the herb breadcrumbs.