White Bean Soup with Asparagus and Peas
- SERVINGS: 8
Cookbook author and TV personality Joanne Weir varies the vegetables in this soothing soup with the seasons. In the spring, for instance, she'll substitute sugar snap or snow peas or fresh edamame for the frozen baby peas listed here. Since a flavorful broth is critical to a soup as simple as this, use a rich stock. If you don't have time to make your own, pick one up from a specialty food store.
- 1 cup dried cannellini or Great Northern beans, picked over, rinsed, soaked overnight in cold water and drained
- 3 quarts rich chicken stock, preferably homemade
- 1/2 pound farfalle pasta
- 1/2 pound asparagus, cut on the diagonal into 1 1/2-inch lengths
- 1 cup frozen baby peas
- 2 tablespoons minced flat-leaf parsley
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped mint
- 1 teaspoon finely chopped thyme
- 1 teaspoon finely chopped oregano
- 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- Freshly ground pepper
- Freshly grated imported Pecorino cheese, for serving
- In a large saucepan, cover the beans with enough water to reach 2 inches above them and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to moderate and simmer for 30 minutes. Add a generous pinch of salt and cook until the beans are tender, 15 to 20 minutes longer. Drain the beans.
- In a large saucepan, bring the chicken stock to a boil. Add a pinch of salt and the farfalle pasta and cook over high heat until barely al dente, about 12 minutes. Add the asparagus pieces and beans and cook until the asparagus is crisp-tender, about 3 minutes. Add the peas, chopped parsley, mint, thyme, oregano, lemon zest and lemon juice. Simmer until the vegetables are just tender and the pasta is al dente, 2 to 3 minutes longer. Season with salt and pepper. Ladle the soup into bowls and serve, passing the cheese at the table.