Primavera means “spring” in Italian, and this satisfying soup makes the most of the delicate flavors of springtime veggies. The chowder is thickened with puréed vegetables rather than flour and milk or cream, for a lighter, gluten-free option.
2 Tbs. olive oil, divided
20 medium asparagus stalks, tips reserved, bottoms trimmed, stalk centers diced (2 ½cups)
1 ¼ cups frozen petite peas, thawed, divided
1 medium leek, thinly sliced (1 ½ cups)
1 medium fennel bulb, chopped, some fronds reserved for garnish (1½ cups)
1 cup frozen, thawed, double-peeled fava beans, or baby lima beans
1 ¾ cup low-sodium vegetable broth
⅓ cup chopped fresh mint, divided, plus sprigs for garnish
- Heat 1 Tbs. oil in large saucepan or small Dutch oven over medium heat. Add asparagus tips, and sauté 3 minutes. Add ¼ cup peas. Sauté 1 minute more, or until vegetables are just tender. Transfer to plate, and set aside.
- Add remaining oil to same saucepan or Dutch oven. Stir in diced asparagus stalks, remaining 1 cup peas, leek, fennel, and fava beans, and toss to coat with oil. Add broth and 1 cup water. Cover, and bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, partially cover, and simmer 5 to 6 minutes, or until vegetables are just tender, stirring occasionally.
- Transfer 2½ cups vegetables (no broth) to food processor. Add ¼ cup chopped mint. Blend 2 minutes, or until smooth. Add remaining mint, if desired, and blend well. Stir purée into mixture in saucepan, and season with salt and pepper, if desired. Serve garnished with reserved asparagus tips and peas, then mint sprigs and fennel fronds.