Villa Medici With A Side Of Pea Soup
One of our favorite Modigliani collections is our Villa Medici handmade dinnerware. The simple elegant look means it goes well with everything, for just about any occasion. It’s classic yet modern. You can dress it up, or you can dress it down. On the holiday table or with Tuesday night takeout, its versatility is limitless.
We’ve showcased this sophisticated Italian dinnerware with a wonderful spring soup—the recipe is shared below.
This collection was named for one of the most historically significant locations in Rome – The Villa Medici.
Not far from the Spanish Steps, this 16th century building was named for one of its first owners, Ferdinando de' Medici.
It’s an architectural complex with beautiful gardens that connect to the larger Borghese gardens nearby on the Pincian Hill. One of the first of the Medici properties in Rome, it later housed the French Academy of Rome, thanks to the instruction of Napoleon Bonaparte, in order to house the winners of the Prix de Rome. The competition was later interrupted during World War I when Mussolini confiscated the Villa, forcing the Academy to withdraw until it was restored in 1945. The competition was eventually eliminated entirely in 1968.
With its grand gardens, sweeping city views, ancient Roman sculptures, and peaceful fountains, many have called this historical treasure home, by choice or by force. The Villa's most famous resident was Galileo, who was imprisoned here in 1630 during his trial for heresy. But even the likes of Keith Richards from The Rolling Stones and famous Italian actress Anita Pallenberg stayed here in the 1960s.
Today, the Academy has continued its program by inviting young artists, musicians, and performers to spend twelve months in residence exhibiting their work. Known as pensionnaires, these young and gifted individuals are given room and board to pursue their many talents and to eventually showcase them to the public.
When these artists or other important guests aren’t using the number of rooms on the Villa premises, the space is open to the public for guided tours and numerous events. For the right price, interested parties can even spend the night in the Villa.
And if tourists get a bit hungry as they walk the grand halls or intricate gardens, there's a cafe on site that serves plenty of Prosecco with a delicious Panini lunch. They won’t have our stunning Villa Medici dinnerware to serve it on, but no one’s perfect.
Recipe and Wine Pairing
Our fresh springtime soup was adapted from an original recipe on Epicurious. We decided to eliminate the dairy here, but it was still satisfying without all the extra calories. We think you’ll enjoy this herb and pea infused version, however, if you’d like to try the original, here’s a link to the recipe.
RECIPE: Minty Pea Soup
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 4 cups low-sodium vegetable broth, divided
- 6 cups shelled fresh peas (from about 6 pounds of pods) or frozen peas, thawed
- 1/4 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
- 1/4 cup fresh mint leaves
- Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper
Melt the butter in a large heavy pot over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring often, until softened but not browned—about 6-8 minutes. Add 2 cups of the broth and bring to a boil. Add the peas, reduce heat, and simmer gently until tender, about 5 minutes for fresh peas and about 2 minutes for frozen.
Remove the pot from heat. Add the parsley, mint, and the remaining 2 cups of broth to the pot. Purée the soup in a blender or with an immersion blender, thinning with water if soup is too thick, until nice and smooth. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
You can top with fresh chives or another complementary herb of your liking. Or you can add the dairy back in by topping with a little dollop of crème fraiche.
WINE PAIRING: Ruffino Pinot Grigio
For this recipe, there’s a mix of flavors. You have the stronger mint combined with a more earthy flavor from the parsley. Then you have the sweet of the peas combined with the onion, vegetable broth, and salt and pepper components. While it’s a simple spring soup, it still has a complexity of flavors coming together. But the dominant flavor is the aromatic mint.
If you prefer a red, we’d suggest your favorite pinot noir. But if you like white, we suggest a good Italian Pinot Grigio.
Perfect for pairing with a medley of fresh herbs and veggie options, Pinot Grigio's often laid-back style allows a variety of foods to steal its spotlight. At less than $15 a bottle, Tuscany’s Ruffino Pinot Grigio bouquet is fresh and complex, showing refined notes of sage and mint accompanied by an elegant minerality typical of Pinot Grigio. It is medium bodied, lively, and elegant. A touch of minerality lingers in the finish, with notes of lemon peel. Perfect for pairing with our Minty Pea Soup.