This is a healthy, comforting and quite good-looking soup. “Vellutata” means “velvety” in Italian, referring to the creamy consistency of the soup. I make it when I need a nutritious and light meal in hardly any time. I often keep a bag of pre-washed spinach in the fridge, but a bag of good quality organic frozen spinach woudl be perfectly acceptable.
This recipe gives you a good excuse to use fresh pasta leftovers if you have any. When I make fresh pasta and I happen not to cook all I have, I dry the leftovers on a towel for a day or two and then roughly crush them with my hands to give it a rustic look before cooking. Store bought fresh egg-noodles will work well but no crushing is needed.
What makes the dish is the fresh pasta and that drizzle of your absolutely best olive oil at the end. The fruity aroma of the oil brings out the herby intensity of the vegetable.
Please don’t be tempted to cook the pasta in the soup, it will be chewy while it should be silky. Fresh noodles cook in no time so it’s not a major effort.
- 1/2 kg (1 lb) spinach, cleaned
- 1 onion
- 1 l ( 1 quart) boiling water or stock
- 1 teaspoon corn starch or wheat flour
- 60 gr (2 ounces) fresh pasta noodles per person
- 2 teaspoon freshly grated Parmesan per person
- best quality extra virgin olive oil
- 1 teaspoon salt
Dice the onion and soften it in two tablespoon olive oil in a saucepan which must be large enough to hold the soup. Add the cleaned spinach leaves, cover and simmer slowly until the greens are wilted. Add flour or starch and stir. Add the boiling water or stock, bring to boil, then simmer 3-4 more minutes, season and puree until smooth. Cover to keep warm.
In a separate pan cook the noodles in plenty salted boiling water until al dente. Fresh tagliolini will take no more than one minute. Drain and toss with one tablespoon of olive oil. Now quickly ladle the hot spinach puree into bowls, add the pasta, a sprinkle of grated Parmesan, drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and serve immediately.
If you are gluten-free, you can use boiled rice instead of pasta.
If you are carb-free, you could substitute the pasta with two tablespoon cooked cannellini beans per person. Just sauté them first in a pan with a little garlic and olive oil before gently float them on the soup.
And if you have no pasta or rice, a slice of crusty bread, first toasted, then rubbed with garlic and diced into croutons works beautifully too.