|Italian Split Pea Soup with White Truffle Croutons
1 pound dry green split peas
1-2 pounds fresh or smoked ham hocks or shanks, cut 1.5 inch thick
1 tsp minced garlic, to taste
4 cups mirepoix (about 1 onion, 2 stalks celery, and 4 carrots, diced)
1 pound red potatoes, or potatoes, diced
2 TBS Chef Mick's Tuscan Grill Rub, to taste
-or 1/2 tsp sea salt, pinches of black and crushed red pepper and large herb bundle (parsley, sage, thyme, rosemary and/or oregano, and 1-2 bay leaves - tied with cotton string)
-or salt, pepper and dry Italian herbs, to taste
8-9 cups water
6 oz pancetta, sliced and diced
Parmigiano Reggiano, grated
Truffle Croutons, or croutons - recipe follows
Have your butcher saw fresh or smoked ham hocks/shanks into steaks roughly 1.5-inch thick. Combine ham hocks/shanks with rinsed and picked-over peas, garlic, vegetables, Tuscan Grill Rub (or seasonings and herbs) and water. Bring to a boil and skim. Reduce heat, loosely cover pot and simmer until peas and ham shank are tender - about 1-1.5 hours, stirring regularly.
Remove ham shanks and cool. Remove herb bundle. If a smoother texture is desired, puree as desired with an immersion blender (or a food processor or blender).
Pick the meat from the pork shank, shred and add back to pot. Adjust to taste with more Tuscan Grill Rub or seasonings. Simmer to marry.
Chop pancetta and saute / fry until crisp, drain. (Note: the fats would be lovely for sauteing other vegetables, such as carrots or green beans with sage leaves.)
Transfer to bowls and garnish with grindings of black pepper a sprinkle of Parmigiano Reggiano and crisp pancetta - croutons or crostini on the side. – Chef Mick (Michaelangelo) Rosacci, Tony’s Markets
Notes: If soup gets too thick, thin with additional water.
Parmesan Truffle Croutons/Crostini
12-16 oz of day old rustic bread
pinches of Tony's Italian Herb Medley, paprika, salt & pepper
3-4 TBS Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Finely grated Reggiano Parmigiano
1-2 tsp truffle oil (optional)
Cut bread into large cubes or slice baguettes into 1/2 inch rounds for crostini*. Place in a large bowl and sprinkle with seasonings to taste, then toss while adding olive oil slowly in a thin stream.
*For crostini, brush with oil on both sides, sprinkle with cheese and herbs and brush with truffle oil, if using.
Once olive oil is evenly distributed, toss in desired amount of Parmigiano and transfer to a parchment lined cookie sheet. Place in the top of a preheated 375-degree oven (convection on) until toasted – 10-15 minutes, tossing several times.
Place croutons back into bowl and toss with 1-2 tsp of white truffle oil, do your best to get even distribution. – Chef Mick (Michaelangelo) Rosacci, Tony’s Markets