The pesto is from a jar, albeit a good organic one. I have made this in the past using fresh homemade pesto (with homegrown basil) and if you wouldn’t mind spending a few minutes making some on your own (or a few months growing your own), I highly highly recommend it. Having said that about the pesto though, fresh peas aren’t essential here; frozen ones work just as well.
This is the perfect soup for those sweltering summer months (which is most of the year where I live) and although we eat it hot most often, the leftovers straight out of the fridge the next day are just as satisfying. I sometimes like the addition of a dash of milk or cream swirled into the soup just before serving, but if you’re feeling virtuous leave it out.
Peas have a mellow sweetness to them when cooked, and with the herbaceous hit of pesto and a good squeeze of lime, the humble pea is transformed into something quite extraordinary. This soup is comforting without being too bold and unfamiliar—the sweet spot.
Bring 3 cups of water to the boil. Add peas, shallots, garlic, and salt to the boiling water and cook for 4-5 minutes until the peas are just tender. Take off the heat, strain the cooking water into a bowl and set aside.
Once cool enough to handle, blend the cooked peas-garlic-shallots along with pesto. Season with salt and black pepper. Pour enough cooking water to bring it to the right consistency and blend until smooth.
Transfer to a clean pot and add the milk/cream is using. Reheat before serving. Can be refrigerated and served cold too.