(CBS News) The following recipe comes courtesy of chef Lidia Bastianich.
A vegetable soup has its basic legumes and seasoning, but it should be made with vegetables to reflect the seasons, and hence the soup can be different every time you make it; for example, asparagus soups are best in the spring, and soups with broccoli best in the winter.
This is a basic recipe, but do feel free to substitute your favorite vegetables.
Serves 10-12 (about 4-5 quarts)
1 lb dried chick peas
1 cup of dry split peas, washed
6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped (about 1 ½ cup)
3 tablespoons sea salt
2 cloves garlic, chopped fine
2 tablespoons tomato paste
7 quarts hot water
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
2 fresh or 3 dried bay leaves
2 large potato, peeled and diced ½-inch
½ cup slices of dry porcini, mill with a spice mill into powder
2 cups peeled and shredded carrots
2 cups sliced leeks, include tender green parts, cleaned and washed well
1 cup peeled and finely chopped celery, include leaves
1 small butternut squash, trimmed, peeled seeded and diced 1/2-inch (about 2 cups)
1 lb. shredded spinach leaves
2 cups of frozen corn
A rind or two of Grana Padano after you have grated the center
Soak the dried chick peas overnight in enough water to cover by 1 inch.
Scrape the outside of the cheese rind with a blade of a knife and wash.
Heat olive oil in a large heavy pot over medium heat. Add the onions, season them lightly with salt, and cook, stirring occasionally, until wilted, about 4 minutes. Add the garlic and continue cooking until the onion is golden, about 5 minutes, then add tomato paste and cook stirring for additional 3-4 minutes.
Add the water and bring all to a boil, then add the drained chick peas and split peas, cheese rind, bay leaves, porcini powder, and crushed red pepper and return to a boil stirring occasionally.
Now add the potatoes, carrots, leeks and celery, adjust the heat to a gentle boil and cook 30 minutes, add the squash and let all perk for additional 45 minutes covered.
Add the shredded spinach and corn and let it simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Taste the soup, seasoning with salt, make sure the chick peas are tender, remove the bay leaves and cheese rind and the soup is ready.
Sprinkle with grated cheese, a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and serve.
For more info:
- Lidia's Italy
- "Lidia's Commonsense Italian Cooking" by Lidia Matticchio Bastianich and Tanya Bastianich Manuali (Knopf); Also available in eBook format