I stumbled upon this recipe for pea and basil soup while I was searching for ways to use up the half tub of bocconcini and half bunch of fresh basil that I had in the fridge from two nights ago. I never thought that peas and basil would go together, and was curious as to how it would taste. Well, it's no fancy soup, but it tastes fantastic especially where you get the sweetness from the peas combined with the fresh and bright flavours of the basil. And it doesn't stop there. Top it with some creamy baby bocconcini and bits of roasted red bell peppers and that makes a complete meal that's great for all seasons. I can unshamedly admit that I polished off two bowls of soup for lunch today, and even my four-year-old enjoyed it (albeit in small amounts).
This is a really easy recipe, and like most soups, the base is simply garlic, onions and chicken stock, and to that, you just add peas and chopped basil, blitz it and stir through some cream. The bocconcini and red peppers gives the soup some textural contrast and elevates it from being plain old boring pea soup to something you might be served in a restaurant. I roasted (or baked) the bell peppers in the oven, but you can use ready-prepared ones that comes in a jar if you like. I love the fresh and bright flavours in this soup, and unless you have an aversion to peas of some sort, I'm sure you will love it too!
Pea and Basil Soup
Adapted from Giada de Laurentiis
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp butter
1 small onion, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
4 cups frozen peas
3/4 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
2 cups chicken stock/broth
Salt and black pepper, to taste
1/2 cup cream
1/2 cup milk
8-10 baby bocconcini, thinly sliced
1/4 cup diced roasted red bell peppers (jarred is fine)*
In a medium pot, heat up the olive oil and butter, and sautee the onions and garlic for 5 minutes or until onions are softened, but not coloured. Add the peas and basil leaves, and heat until the peas are thawed. Add the chicken stock and bring to a gentle simmer. Add salt and pepper to taste. Turn off the heat.
Blend the soup (I used a stick blender) until smooth and fine. Heat the soup again and stir in the milk and cream. When it just starts to come to a simmer, turn off the heat. Ladle into individual soup bowls and top with sliced bocconcini and roasted red bell peppers. Serve hot.
*Note: To make roasted bell peppers - Preheat oven to 210C. Place one whole red bell pepper on a baking tray and bake in oven for 30 minutes or until the skin is evenly blistered all over. Remove from oven, seal in a plastic bag and let cool before peeling. Scrape off the seeds and dice into cubes.