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Sunday Dinner // 23 April 2006 / Mom's Peppino's Soup

I grew up with this super delicious soup - it's a warm, filling, universally satisfying dish that's equally easy to make. Family legend has it that this same soup was served at Peppino's Italian restaurant in Denver (it closed when I was a little girl) and everybody craved it.

Originally, the pasta used has always been very very small bowtie, but I recently tried it with cheese tortellini (the smallest you can find) and I like it better. The cheese in the tortellini adds a sharp starchy quality to the stock that really rounds out the lemony broth. Plus, with tortellini, all you need is a simple salad, a slice of crunchy bread and a glass of wine and you'll be as full as can be!

And like all's even better the next day for lunch!

note: the pasta looks very small and alone in all that stock when you first add it. Never fear, it will expand when it's cooked. I made the mistake of adding too much pasta once, and it was more like a stew than a soup. If you want more substance after the pasta has cooked, you can always add more peas. :)
Serves: lots

Mom's 'Peppino's' Soup

3 Boxes Organic Chicken or Vegetable Stock
3/4 bag of dried cheese tortellini
juice of one lemon
3-4 cups frozen peas
fresh chopped Italian parsley to taste
3/4 to 1 cup cream
1 clove chopped garlic
1/4 cup chopped onion
fresh grated Parmesan

In a large stock pot warm some olive oil and saute the onion and garlic until softened. Add the stock and bring to a simmer. When warm, add juice of 1/2 the lemon plus salt and pepper to taste. Continue to add lemon juice to taste to your preference. The stock should be tart, but not overpowering.

Leave stock uncovered until it comes to a rigorous boil for at least 10 minutes. Add the tortellini, and toss in some parsley, reduce heat to a simmer, and let cook for 15-20 minutes. Stir occasionally and add pepper to taste.

When tortellini is cooked, add peas, another toss of parsley, and simmer for 10-15 minutes. Stir in cream and simmer for at least 15 minutes longer.

At this point the soup is basically cooked, and can only get better from here. If you're pottering around the kitchen, cover the pot and leave it on a low simmer for a while longer, stirring occasionally. The pasta will hold up under the heat and liquid for a long time, and it doesn't need to be al dente. More cream and lemon juice can always be added to your liking.

Serve piping hot with a sprinkle of fresh parsley, fresh Parmesan and a strong grind of fresh pepper.

Happy Eating!