This is not your typical pea soup. It’s not green from blended peas, and it’s not thick, at least not my version of it. I grew up with this soup, it was a typical Saturday dish, and I’ve always loved it. In my family, my grandmother, my godmother, and my mother made this soup, and each version tasted slightly different.
My mother and my godmother make the pasta for this soup from a Spätzle dough whereas my grandmother used traditional pasta dough. The Spätzle dough is a softer version from which you make little dumplings by using a teaspoon to portion off the dough and add them to the boiling soup. My grandmother’s version was to make an Italian pasta dough, run it through the pasta machine, then cut it into thick little squares.
Both have their advantages – the Spätzle dough is a wet one that will make your soup a little thicker, whereas the Italian dough is a lot easier to make. I used Jamie Oliver’s basic pasta recipe, and I was happy to finally have found ’00’ type flour to make pasta. My pasta squares turned out twice as large as my grandmother’s but tasted just as good.
To give the soup flavour, it is usually cooked with a piece of pork belly, but I always use diced bacon rashers. What is mandatory, however, is to cut up some Debreziners (Debreceners), a Hungarian kind of paprika sausage, and add them to the soup. The soup is then served with sour cream and – in our family at least – a generous helping of chilli peppers. I come from a family that wouldn’t stop short of having chilli peppers with breakfast…
You’ll notice I don’t have exact measurements for the soup ingredients. That’s because it always depends on the size of pot you use. I made a large pot this time, using a medium-sized onion, about 250 g frozen peas, 3 pairs of sausages, and I only used half the pasta dough. I usually throw in 2 carrots but forgot to buy them.
And by the way,at home this was an “all seasons” soup, but to me it has more of an autumn feel and taste. I made it because the weather looked and felt very autumn-like the last couple of weeks, but luckily has now changed back to hot summery temperatures.
600 g ’00’ type Italian flour
6 large or 8 medium eggs
100 g bacon rashers, diced
Debreziner sausages, sliced
For the pasta, mix flour and eggs in a food processor for about 10 minutes, then thoroughly knead by hand. Cut dough into pieces, run through pasta machine 3 times at setting no. 1, then – on a floured surface – cut into little squares.
For the soup, heat some olive oil, fry the onion and diced bacon, then add some paprika powder. Top up with water, to about ¾ of your pot, add carrots if using, then bring to boil.
Keep boiling for 10 – 15 minutes, then add the peas and sliced sausages and let cook for about 5 – 10 minutes. Add pasta, a little at a time, and cook for 10 – 15 minutes.
Serve with a dollop of sour cream, and chilies on the side. It won’t look too pretty when you stir in the sour cream, but it will definitely enhance the taste.