With so many delicious spring vegetables to choose from and a desperate need to get ahead of the game, a pot of soup is always a winner. I had a handful of the sweetest new potatoes, a beautiful bunch of asparagus and a very busy afternoon and evening. Soup, accommpanied with some warm, crusty ciabatta bread and a sprinkle of parmasan should please any hungry soul. This works well in my house, I hope it helps in yours.
A good gulg of olive oil
1 onion, diced
3 carrots, diced
2-3 leeks, sliced thinly
Fresh herbs, chopped, (I used thyme and oregano)
2-3 cloves of garlic, minced
A handful of the smallest new potatoes you can find (or slice a couple of medium ones)
32 oz carton of organic chicken stock
1 tablespoon of tomato puree
1 bunch of asparagus, woody ends discarded and chopped into spears about 1 inch long.
1 bunch of Swiss chard (washed, storks removed and cut into ribbons)
1 cup of frozen peas
1 cup of pasta (I used Messo Ditale)
Heat the olive oil in a large pan, add the onion and saute on a low heat for about 5-8 minutes.
Add the leeks, carrots, garlic, potatoes and herbs. Continue cooking for a further 5-10 minutes until soft but not browned.
Add the chicken stock, bring to the boil, turn down to a simmer and partially cover the pot.
While the soup is cooking, prepare the pasta. I usually cook the pasta seperately as I find it can get a little soggy if cooked in the soup and left for a while. Cooked seperately I can add how much I want and keep a more al dente feel to it. When the pasta is cooked, drain, toss in a little olive oil to avoid it sticking, and set aside.
When the vegetables are tender, add the asparagus and Swiss chard, cook for a couple of minutes and then add the frozen peas.
When the vegetables are cooked through, set the soup aside for 10 minutes or so to rest. This just gets better as the flavors are allowed to meld. When ready to serve, ladle into bowls and sprinkle with parmasan cheese.