Sardinia’s Way with Peas in Soup

Springtime in Sardinia means fava beans, peas, and a variety of other vegetables and fruit. One favorite way with fresh spring peas is in a minestra. A minestra can mean both a soup and a first course. But the difference between a zuppa (soup) and a minestra is that a minestra is usually a thicker soup that contains a grain, in this case it’s pasta, but it could be rice too. Peas have been known in the Mediterranean since Neolithic times but they didn’t become popular as a food until the sixteenth century. This springtime Sardinian minestra is made with fresh peas and fresh sheep’s milk ricotta with small pasta shapes of mixed variety.

Minestra di Piselli con Ricotta
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Recipe type: Soup
Cuisine: Sardinian
Serves: 4 servings
  • ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 6 cups water
  • 1 cup tomato sauce
  • Salt to taste
  • 5 ounces mixed short pasta, such as ditalini, conchigliette, etc.
  • 4 pounds fresh pea pods, peas removed or 1 pound frozen peas
  • 5 ounces fresh ricotta cheese
  1. In a saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium heat then cook, stirring, the onion until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the water, tomato sauce, and salt. Bring to a boil over high heat and add the pasta and peas and cook, stirring, until al dente, about 8 minutes.
  2. Place a scoop of ricotta cheese in individual soup bowls and ladle the soup into the bowls, stir once or twice gently and serve.


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