Green-estrone by Carla Lalli Music
This is spring’s answer to minestrone, and a place to put all of the very early season’s green things that arrive when the weather is still a little chilly in the shade. I purposely combine longer-cooked vegetables with vibrant, barely cooked greens and herbs for a mix of sweet and bright notes.
1 bunch scallions, whites and greens separated
4 ounces ramps, trimmed
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 tablespoons plus 6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper
12 ounces small Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and cut into
¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper
¼ cup white wine
2 bunches small bok choy (12 ounces total), sliced crosswise into ¼-inch pieces
4 ounces haricots verts or green beans, trimmed, cut into
8 ounces sugar snap peas, trimmed, halved lengthwise
1 cup shelled English peas (from about 1 pound pods)
Parmgiano rind (optional)
8 ounces small pasta, such as ditalini or mini shells
Wide strip of lemon zest
1 bunch chives, very thinly sliced
Flaky sea salt, for serving
Slice scallion whites crosswise into thin rounds (set tops aside). Cut ramp bulbs in half where the pink-hued part of the stem meets the base of the leaves. Slice any large ramp bulbs in half lengthwise. Cut ramp greens crosswise into 1-inch pieces; set aside.
In a large pot, melt butter and 3 tablespoons oil over medium heat. Add scallion whites and ramp bulbs and season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring frequently, until the vegetables are softened and blond (don’t let them brown), about 5 minutes. Add potatoes and stir to coat. Cook until they have lost their starchy, matte appearance and cut surfaces look shiny, 1 to 2 minutes. Add crushed red pepper and wine and cook until wine is reduced by about half, about 3 minutes more.
Next: Add all of the green vegetables at once, which will result in wonderfully silky, very tender, and well-cooked vegetables, which is achieved at the expense of a vibrantly colored soup. This is less fussy and leaving the vegetables to cook longer gives the soup a chance to develop true depth of flavor, even though the liquid used is plain old water.
Add bok choy, haricots verts, sugar snap peas, and green peas and stir to coat. Season with salt and pepper and toss gently to coat. Cook until bok choy leaves wilt and peas and beans are bright green, about 5 minutes. Add Parmigiano rind, if using, pour 2 quarts water into pot, and bring to a simmer over high heat, about 6 minutes. Reduce to a gentle simmer and cook until potatoes are completely tender but not falling apart, 10 to 12 minutes.
Meanwhile, bring a pot of well-salted water to a boil. Add pasta and set a timer for 2 to 3 minutes less than package instructions (it should be very al dente). Drain pasta and transfer to soup. Add ramp greens and lemon zest. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes to let flavors meld; stir in some water if soup looks too tight.
Thinly slice reserved scallion greens and stir together with chives and 6 tablespoons olive oil in a small bowl. Serve soup with a pinch of flaky salt and herb oil spooned over.
Reprinted from Where Cooking Begins: Uncomplicated Recipes To Make You a Great Cook. Copyright © 2019 by Carla Lalli Music. Photographs copyright © 2019 Gentl and Hyers. Published by Clarkson Potter, an imprint of Penguin Random House, LLC.