Peas and Potato Soup with Tarragon Pesto

TOTAL TIME: 1 hr 5 min
Prep: 30 min
Inactive Prep: --
Cook: 35 min
 
YIELD: 4 servings
LEVEL: Easy

ingredients

  • Soup
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 pound pancetta or bacon, finely diced, optional
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 large starchy potatoes, peeled and diced 1/2-inch
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 large head escarole, cleaned and chopped
  • A few grates nutmeg
  • 1 quart chicken or vegetable stock-in-a-box
  • 3 cups water
  • 2 cups frozen peas
  • 1/4 cup ditalini pasta
    • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
    • 1 lemon, zested and juiced (1 tablespoon)
    • 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
    • About 1/4 to 1/3 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
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    Directions

    Heat a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat with extra-virgin olive oil a couple of turns of the pan. Add the pancetta, if using, the onions and the garlic. Stir occasionally for 3 to 4 minutes, then add the potatoes and season with salt and pepper, to taste. Cover the pan and cook for 5 minutes more, stirring occasionally. Add the escarole and season with nutmeg, cover the pan and let wilt for 2 minutes. Stir in the stock and water and bring the soup to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer 15 minutes for flavors to combine, adjust salt and pepper, to taste, and let cool. Store for a make-ahead meal. Bring the soup, covered, to a boil over medium-high heat. Add the peas and ditalini and cook to al dente, about 7 to 8 minutes. Turn off the heat and serve in shallow bowls garnished with pesto.

    Pesto:

    Put the herbs into food processor along with the nuts and grated garlic. Season with salt and pepper, to taste, then add the lemon zest, extra-virgin olive oil and the cheese. Pulse into a coarse paste, then transfer the pesto to storage container and drizzle the top with a thin layer of extra-virgin olive oil to retard browning. Cover and store in the refrigerator. Bring to room temp when ready to use.
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