This creamy vegetable and orecchiette soup is full of healthy vegetables simmered in a creamy broth with white cheddar cheese and served over orecchiette pasta. It is hearty and filling, and while it’s great for a cold winter day, I love it in the summer, spring and fall too.
This soup covers a lot of things all at once. It has lots of vegetables. The white cheddar cheese is melted into the broth to make it creamy. When served over orecchiette it is filling, but won’t leave you feeling weighed down, and it’s really very comforting. It also comes together fairly easy so it’s a good weeknight meal and is great for leftovers.
What makes it so good:
- The white cheddar cheese melts into the broth adding a lot of flavor.
- The durum wheat semolina orecchiette is hearty and satisfying.
- The orecchiette acts as mini bowls in the soup that hold a little bit of the creamy broth and occasionally a pea or two. This makes these bites so satisfying. Its why I loved Kraft Mac n Cheese shells rather than the standard elbows – the mac n cheese shells capture extra cheese and sauce, just like the orecchiette captures extra broth and veggies.
- It has a good amount of healthy vegetables.
- It’s an easy one pot meal.
- I always double this recipe. That way you end up using half of a 1lb bag of baby carrots, a whole bag of peas, most of a block of white cheddar and a full lb of orecchiette. Though, when doubling this I do not double the onion.
- We try to only put a small amount of orecchiette in each bowl, so that the emphasis is on the veggies, rather than the pasta.
- It is important to buy high quality Durum Wheat Semolina Orecchiette. There is so much more flavor in this type of pasta and it holds up better in the soup. It's much less likely to get mushy than standard pasta. Be sure to cook it until al dente if not a minute less. We used to get this kind of orecchiette at Trader Joe’s, but the Trader Joe’s by us in San Diego doesn’t carry it so we found some at Whole Foods. You can get really expensive imported versions, but we get the Whole Foods brand which is much more affordable and still high quality.
If you’re looking for other soup recipes, here are 3 that I love:
Creamy Vegetable and Orecchiete Soup
- 2 tbsp butter
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 small onion, diced
- ¼ lb baby carrots, thinly sliced
- 2 celery stalks, thinly sliced
- 1 bay leaf
- ½ tsp thyme
- ¼ cup flour
- 3 cups low sodium chicken stock
- ½ lb frozen peas
- 1 ¼ cups whole milk
- 1 cup shredded white cheddar cheese, about ¼ lb
- salt and pepper
- ½ lb orecchiette, Durum Wheat Semolina, Bronze Cut
- Melt the butter in a large pot or Dutch oven at medium heat.Add the olive oil and diced onion, stirring occasionally until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the carrots, celery, bay leaf, and thyme. Sauté the vegetables for 7 minutes.
- Add the flour, stirring continuously for 1-2 minutes. Add the chicken stock a little at a time, while continuing to stir. It will thicken very rapidly. Keep adding the stock little by little to make a sort of roux.Once all of the chicken stock has been added, bring to a boil and immediately reduce to a simmer. Simmer for about 10 minutes.
- Add the frozen peas and return to a simmer. Add the milk and cheese, stir until the cheese has melted. Season with salt and pepper.
- Separately cook the orecchiette until al dente.
- Serve the soup in bowls over a small amount of the orecchiette. If you have extra shredded white cheddar cheese you can sprinkle that on top.