When the day gets away from me and I’m hungry but (uncharacteristically) haven’t given dinner a thought, I turn to garlic soup. Its very existence makes me feel secure. I know that a delicious dinner can be on the table in 30 minutes.This garlic soup, which is based on a Provençal recipe, requires a minimal number of the staples that I always have on hand. It calls for garlic; eggs; some sort of pasta; a green vegetable that can be as simple as the limp bunch of broccoli in my crisper or, as I use in this recipe, frozen peas; and Parmesan or Gruyère for the garnish.If I have bread, even if it’s stale, I’ll include garlic croutons or toasted bread rubbed with garlic, as I do here. But it isn’t a requirement. In traditional Provençal garlic soup, the most humble version, garlic croutons are the only solid ingredient in the savory broth.You can vary the recipe a number of ways. Use different types of pasta, or substitute potatoes or grains for the pasta. No vegetables in the crisper or peas in your freezer? Just add some chopped parsley from the garden. The soup can be as involved or as minimal as you like. It lives up to the adage in the Provençal language: “L’aigo boulido sauvo la vido.” Garlic soup saves lives.It also saves time.———Recipe:Garlic Soup With Peas and PastaTime: 30 minutesYield: 4 servings4 garlic cloves, minced, plus 1 garlic clove, cut in halfSalt to taste (about 2 teaspoons)1 bay leaf1/4 teaspoon dried thyme, or a few sprigs fresh thyme1/2 cup pasta, such as elbow macaroni, orecchiette or fusilli1 cup frozen peas4 slices country-style bread, cut in half, or 8 slices baguette, lightly toasted2 large eggs, beaten1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oilGround pepper to taste2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley2 to 3 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan or Gruyère cheesePreparation1. Bring 6 1/2 cups water to a boil in a 3- or 4-quart saucepan. Add minced garlic, salt, bay leaf and thyme. Cover and simmer 15 minutes. Taste and adjust salt. Remove bay leaf, and fresh thyme sprigs, if using. (Dried thyme will be difficult to remove.)2. Add pasta to pot. Stir, cover and simmer until al dente, about 5 to 10 minutes, depending on pasta type. Stir from time to time so that pasta doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pot. Add peas and simmer 5 minutes.3. Meanwhile, rub toasted bread slices with cut garlic clove and place 2 pieces in each bowl.4. Beat together eggs and olive oil. Temper the egg: Spoon 2 ladlefuls of the hot soup into eggs and stir together.5. Turn off heat under soup and slowly stir in tempered egg mixture. Add pepper and parsley. Ladle soup into bowls over bread, sprinkle cheese over the top and serve.© 2015 The New York Times News Service
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