Italy is not just home to pizzas and pastas; its culinary repertoire is vast and varied. One such hidden gem is the Sicilian Split Pea Soup, a hearty dish brimming with flavors and the warmth of Mediterranean sunshine.
Sicilian Split Pea Soup Recipe
- 2 cups dried split peas rinsed and drained
- 1 medium onion finely chopped
- 3 garlic cloves minced
- 1 carrot diced
- 2 celery stalks diced
- 4 cups vegetable broth
- 2 cups water
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- 1 tsp dried basil
- ½ tsp red pepper flakes optional
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- Fresh parsley for garnish
- Grated Pecorino Romano cheese for serving (optional)
- In a large pot, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add onions, garlic, carrots, and celery. Sauté until the vegetables are soft, about 5 minutes.
- Add the split peas to the pot and stir to combine.
- Pour in the vegetable broth and water. Stir in the bay leaf, oregano, basil, red pepper flakes (if using), salt, and pepper.
- Bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and let it simmer, covered, for about 40 minutes or until the peas are tender.
- Check seasoning and adjust salt and pepper as needed.
- Once cooked, remove the bay leaf and discard.
- Optionally, you can use an immersion blender to partially puree the soup if you prefer a smoother texture.
- Serve hot, garnished with fresh parsley and a sprinkle of Pecorino Romano cheese.
- Split Peas: It's important to rinse and drain the split peas to remove any residual dirt or debris. Also, there's no need to soak them overnight as they cook relatively quickly.
- Texture: If you prefer a chunkier soup, skip the immersion blender step. Conversely, for a very smooth soup, blend until you achieve the desired consistency.
- Spiciness: The red pepper flakes add a hint of heat. Adjust the quantity based on your heat preference or omit them entirely.
- Herbs: Fresh herbs can be used in place of dried ones. If using fresh oregano and basil, triple the amount.
- Storage: This soup thickens as it sits, especially if refrigerated. When reheating, you might want to add a splash of broth or water to adjust the consistency.
- Accompaniments: Crusty bread, focaccia, or even a slice of lemon can elevate the flavor of this soup.
- Vegan Option: Skip the Pecorino Romano cheese or use a vegan cheese substitute for a fully vegan version.
Why Make Sicilian Split Pea Soup?
This soup is not only nutritious but also embodies the rich flavors of Sicilian cuisine. It’s an excellent way to enjoy a taste of Italy right in your kitchen. Plus, split peas are a fantastic source of protein and fiber, making this a hearty and healthy choice for any meal.
How Difficult Is It To Make Sicilian Split Pea Soup?
Simplicity is the essence of this dish. Even if you’re not an expert in the kitchen, this soup is straightforward to make. The ingredients are easy to source, and the process is forgiving. It’s a perfect recipe for both beginners and seasoned cooks.
How Does Sicilian Split Pea Soup Taste?
The soup boasts a creamy texture with the robust flavors of split peas taking center stage. The combination of aromatic herbs, fresh vegetables, and the slight kick from red pepper flakes (if you choose to add them) gives it a distinct Mediterranean flair. The optional Pecorino Romano adds a salty richness that elevates the entire dish.
Frequently Asked Questions:
- Can I make this soup ahead of time?
- Absolutely! It stores well in the fridge for up to 5 days. In fact, the flavors often meld and improve after a day.
- Can I freeze the soup?
- Yes, it freezes well. Allow the soup to cool completely before transferring it to freezer-safe containers.
- Can I use ham or another meat in this recipe?
- While this is a vegetarian version, you can certainly add diced ham or sausage if you prefer.
- What can I serve with this soup?
- A crusty loaf of bread, a simple green salad, or even some grilled vegetables make excellent accompaniments.
- I don’t have split peas; can I use lentils instead?
- While split peas are traditional, lentils can work as a substitute. However, the flavor and texture will vary slightly.