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Photo by Jyl Benson -- Fresh Southern Shelling Bean Ragout With Ciabatta.

Advocate-tested recipe

Fresh Southern Summer Shelling Pea Ragoût With Ciabatta Toast

Makes 4 to 6 servings. Recipe is from Jyl Benson.

1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more

3 medium onions, finely chopped

1 red bell pepper, finely chopped

Kosher salt

Freshly ground pepper

4 garlic cloves, 3 finely chopped and 1 halved

2 tsps. tomato paste

4 to 6 (1-inch-thick) slices grilled or toasted ciabatta

8 to 10 tbls. finely grated Parmesan, divided

4 cups fresh shelling peas

5 cups vegetable broth, divided

1 cup cherry tomatoes, preferably heirloom, halved

2 tbls. chopped flat-leaf parsley

1. Heat oil in a large heavy skillet over medium heat. Add the onions and bell pepper and season with salt and pepper. Simmer, stirring often, until vegetables are completely softened, about 30 minutes. Add the finely chopped garlic and tomato paste and cook, stirring often, until tomato paste begins to turn deep red, about 3 minutes. Measure 1/2 cup of the vegetable mixture (soffritto) and set aside. Reserve the skillet. Transfer remaining soffritto to a container and let cool completely, uncovered. Cover and store in refrigerator for up to 4 days or freeze for up to 3 months for use in other applications.

2. Prepare the bread: Preheat the oven to 375°F. Rub the bread slices with cut sides of remaining garlic clove. Place the bread on a baking sheet and sprinkle 1 tablespoon Parmesan over each slice. Toast until cheese begins to brown, about 5 minutes. Set aside.

3. Heat the reserved 1/2 cup soffritto and the shelling peas in the skillet over medium-high heat. Cook, stirring often, until heated through, about 1 minute. Stir in 4 cups broth; bring to a boil. Boil actively until peas soften but are still al dente, about 20 minutes, adding water or broth if necessary. Add the tomatoes and remaining 1 cup broth; simmer until the tomatoes are tender, 3-4 minutes. Stir in 2 tablespoons Parmesan and parsley. Season with salt and pepper.

4. Divide the bread among warmed shallow bowls. Top with some bean mixture and broth. Garnish with remaining Parmesan. Serve at once.