Soups, Stews and Legumes

Split Pea Soup Italiana

In Italian: Zuppa di Piselli Spezzati (“soup of broken peas”).  As the name implies, this is the Italian interpretation of Split Pea Soup.  But this recipe can easily be adapted your own tastes and preferences – use bacon or ham instead of pancetta, make it with vegetable stock and no meat for a vegetarian version, use whatever herbs you like, add something green like spinach, kale or cabbage.  You can leave it chunky or purée it into a smooth, creamy soup.  Often in Italy, you will see farro or rice added to it or served with a small bowl of croutons.  Some recipes include potatoes or diced pumpkin or even small pasta.  Split peas are high in protein and fiber and other vitamins and minerals.  This soup is healthy, quick, easy to make, and perfect on a cold winter day.  As comforting as it is delicious.  And saying Zuppa di Piselli Spezzati makes me smile!     

Split Pea Soup Italiana

(Zuppa di Piselli Spezzati)
Split peas are high in protein and fiber and other vitamins and minerals. This soup is healthy, quick, easy to make, and perfect on a cold winter day. As comforting as it is delicious.
Author Rosalie D’Amico


  • 3 ounces diced pancetta
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • cups finely diced leeks, white and tender green parts only
  • 3 ribs celery, diced
  • 3 carrots, peeled and diced
  • 3 cloves finely minced garlic
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon finely minced fresh rosemary
  • 1/8 teaspoon red chili pepper flakes, more or less to your taste
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • 2 – 3 cups water, depending how thick you like your soup
  • cups dried split peas, rinsed
  • Parmigiano rind (optional, but important to the flavor)
  • Finely chopped fresh Italian Parsley and extra virgin olive oil for serving


  • Add the olive oil to a stock pot and sauté the pancetta, stirring often, until it begins to render its fat. Do not let it get brown.
  • Add leeks, celery, carrots, garlic, tomato paste, rosemary, pepper flakes, bay leaf, stock and water. Bring to a boil.
  • Add rinsed split peas and Parmigiano rind (if using). Return to a boil and cook for 40-45 minutes until peas are well cooked and very soft. The longer you cook it, the thicker it will get.
  • Garnish with fresh parsley and drizzle with extra virgin olive oil for serving.


If you want to add greens (cabbage, kale, spinach), stir into the soup during the last 10 to 15 minutes of cooking time.
For those of you who do not buy Parmigiano Reggiano in chunk form to grate yourself, you can often find containers of rinds in the cheese department. They can be frozen and used in soups and sauces, adding unbelievable flavor.
This soup holds very well, however it tends to get thicker as it sits.  It is easily thinned to your desired consistency with a little water or stock.