I know spring is official when these two trees in our neighborhood start to bud. They have the most delicate beautiful pink blossoms that are different from the other trees on the street.
It seems like it happened earlier this year than in the past, but fortunately, they are hearty trees. Those flowers manage to hang on through the ups and downs and cold spells of early spring.
The lovely pink flowers only last a few weeks before they fall off and cover the sidewalk. As much as I hate to see them go because they are that first sign of the season change, they need to make way for the lush green leaves that will soon take their place.
Soup still feels appropriate right now. I know its days are numbered, so I am in transition mode to more light broths than thick veggie puree-bases.
This past winter I made classic minestrone with tomatoes, beans and pasta, but I revisited this hearty bowl turning it into green minestrone soup that makes sense for early spring.
I started by sautéing aromatic leeks with onions and celery. Then I added broth and simmered peeled carrots and peas until they were tender.
I used my food processor to make a paste with parsley, shallots, garlic and olive oil. This almost pesto added pleasantly strong herby flavor.
With any soup that has pasta in it, if I know I will have leftovers, I like to cook the pasta separately. Then I can stir it into each bowl as I need it. Then I won’t end up with mushy noodles.
I loved that each bite was filled with spring veggies. It was comforting for the chill that seems to be lingering, but it was light enough not to feel like I was being dragged back to those short, dark January days.
Green Minestrone Soup
- Total Time: 30 minutes
- Yield: Serves 4 1x
6 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 leek, white and pale-green parts only, finely chopped
1/2 small white onion, finely chopped
1 celery stalk, thinly slices
4 cups low sodium vegetable or chicken broth
2 small carrots, peeled and thinly sliced lengthwise with a mandolin
1 cup shelled peas, fresh or frozen
Kosher salt and black pepper
1/2 cup fregola, cavatelli, ditalini or other small pasta
1-1/2 cups flat-leaf parsley leaves
1/2 shallot, minced
1 garlic clove, minced
Shaved Parmesan for serving
Heat the 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the leeks, onion & celery and sauté until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the broth and bring a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 10-15 minutes. Add the carrots and peas and continue simmering until the carrots are tender, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
In a medium saucepan, cook the pasta in boiling salted water until al denté, according to packet instructions. Add the pasta to the soup.
While the pasta is cooking, place the parsley, shallots, garlic and remaining olive oil in a food processor and process into a paste. Stir into the soup and season with salt and pepper to taste. Divide the soup into bowls and top with with shaved Parmesan before serving.
Adapted from Bon Appetit