A Spring Recipe

Pea and Lettuce Soup with Ricotta
(Serves 4)

Photo: Tasting Table

As a preview of what’s to come from Locanda during the Mission’s first Roman Spring, we’re sharing a recipe that debuted last year on Tasting Table. While this is an easy at home recipe, don’t be fooled by it’s simplicity. For as Tasting Table  said, “This soup’s concentrated spring flavors will have us clamoring for our soupspoons long into the season.”

Ingredients:

  • English peas, 2#
  • Prosciutto Hock or Un-smoked Ham Hock 1
  • Parmesan Rind 8 oz
  • Bay leaves 2
  • Coriander Seeds Pinch
  • Pancetta, thinly sliced into quarter-width pieces 1 oz
  • Pea Shoots 1 good handful
  • Little Gem Lettuce, cut into 1/2 “ squares 1 head
  • Fresh, Firm Ricotta, or Ricotta Salata 8 oz
  • Black Pepper
  • Salt
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Preparation:

  1. Broth: Pour 2 quarts of water into a saucepan, add Hock, Parmesan Rind, Bay, Coriander, and a big pinch of salt. Bring to a simmer over medium heat.
  2. Shuck the fresh peas, reserving the pods.
  3. Rinse the pea pods, pea shoots, and little gems separately in cold water, drain, and set aside.
  4. After the broth has been cooking 20-30 minutes, add in the pea pods and continue to simmer.
  5. In a separate pot, heat the pancetta slowly in a bit of olive oil until it starts to sizzle and almost becomes crisp. Add shucked peas and increase the heat to medium-high, salt lightly and stir. After the peas cook for a couple minutes, add in the lettuce and ¼ of the pea shoots. Add a big ladle of the broth and continue to cook, stirring frequently.
  6. Place the rest of the pea shoots into a blender and pour the rest of the broth through a fine strainer into the pitcher as well. Blend on high until completely smooth.
  7. Add the pureed broth into the pea mixture, and continue to cook on high heat until the peas and lettuce are soft and juicy.  Season to taste.
  8. Ladle the soup into bowls, finish with thin slices of the Ricotta, a generous drizzle of olive oil, and an even more generous crack of black pepper.