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Sweet Green Pea Soup

The starch provided by Arborio rice adds body and creaminess to the soup without dulling the flavor of the peas.

Ingredients:

  • 1 Tbs. canola oil 
  • 1 leek, white portion only, rinsed well and chopped 
  • 1 white onion, chopped 
  • 1 small zucchini, trimmed and chopped 
  • 1 Tbs. Arborio rice 
  • 3 cups water
  • 2 cups fresh or frozen petite green peas 
  • About 6 whole fresh chives, cut into 1 1/2-inch lengths

Directions:

In a large saucepan over medium-high heat, warm the canola oil. Add the leek, onion and zucchini and stir to coat with the oil. Reduce the heat to low, cover tightly and cook until the vegetables are very soft, about 10 minutes.

Add the rice and water, raise the heat to medium and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to maintain a simmer, cover and cook for 10 minutes. Add the peas, re-cover and cook until the peas are very tender, about 10 minutes. Remove from the heat, uncover and let stand for 15 minutes to cool slightly.

Using an immersion blender, puree the soup until it is very smooth. Alternatively, working in batches, carefully puree the soup in a standing blender until smooth; return it to the pan. Reheat the soup over medium heat to serving temperature. Divide among warmed soup bowls, garnish with the chives and serve. Serves 4.

Variation:

Chilled Green Pea Soup  Prepare the soup as directed and let cool completely after pureeing. Cover and refrigerate until chilled, about 3 hours. Just before serving, stir in the juice of 1/2 lime (about 1 Tbs.) and ladle the soup into bowls.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma, Essentials of Healthful Cooking, by Mary Abbott Hess, Dana Jacobi & Marie Simmons (Oxmoor House, 2003).