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Venetian Rice & Pea Soup

You can substitute 2 lb. fresh English peas for the frozen peas, adding them with the broth and water. To shell the peas, hold each pod over a bowl, press your thumb against the seam to split it, and then sweep the peas into the bowl. This can be done up to 1 day in advance; store the peas in a sealable plastic bag in the refrigerator.

Ingredients:

  • 2 Tbs. unsalted butter
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 1 celery stalk, chopped
  • 1/2 cup short-grain white rice, such as Arborio
  • 3 cups chicken broth
  • 2 cups frozen peas
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
  • 1 Tbs. minced fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

Directions:

Sauté the vegetables
In a large saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the shallot and celery and sauté until the shallot is translucent, about 2 minutes. Add the rice and cook, stirring, until the grains are opaque, about 1 minute.

Cook the rice and peas
Increase the heat to medium-high, add the broth and 2 cups water, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer until the rice is tender, about 15 minutes. Add the peas and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes more.

Just before serving, stir in the cheese and parsley, and season with salt and pepper. Ladle the soup into bowls and serve immediately. Serves 4.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Food Made Fast Series, Soup, by Georgeanne Brennan (Oxmoor House, 2006).