The vegetables are added to the pot in stages to keep them all at their prime. Start with the longer cooking leeks, fennel and carrots, then add the fresh peas, and finally stir in the baby spinach and herbs just before serving.
What you'll need: 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 large leek
1 medium head fennel
3 oz yellow carrots
6 ounces short pasta, such as pipette rigate
1 pound english peas (or 1 cup shelled)
1 small bunch parsley
2.5 ounces baby spinach
1 oz Parmesan cheese
freshly ground black pepper
Equipment: large pot
1. Cut root end and dark green part off of leek. Halve lengthwise, thinly slice. Wash and dry well. Cut fronds off of fennel and reserve. Quarter bulb, remove core, then thinly slice. Peel carrots, then slice on the bias.
2. In large pot, melt butter over medium heat. Add leek, fennel and carrots to pot. Season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring, until vegetables begin to soften, about 7 minutes.
3. Add 6 cups water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until reduced slightly and vegetables are soft, 10 minutes.
Add pasta and peas
4. Meanwhile, remove peas from shells. Remove leaves from parsley stems then chop leaves (1/3 cup). Add pasta to soup and cook until almost al dente, about 6 minutes. Add peas and cook until pasta is al dente, about 2 minutes.
Stir in greens
5. Stir in parsley and spinach, cook just until wilted, about 30 seconds, remove from heat. Season with salt and pepper.
6. Cut lemon into wedges. Grate cheese and remove a few fine sprigs from fennel fronds. Serve soup and garnish with lemon, cheese, and fennel fronds. Enjoy!