This is a healthy, refreshing and quite good-looking soup. “Vellutata” means “velvety” in Italian, referring to the creamy consistency of the soup. I make it when I desperately 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. I dry them on a towel for a day or two and then roughly crush them with my hands to give it a rustic look before cooking. Bought fresh egg-noodles of any shape you like will do just fine, no crushing needed.
What makes the dish is that drizzle of your absolutely best olive oil at the end. The fruity aroma of the oil brings out the herby intensity of the spinach.
I hope you did not miss the chance to buy a bottle of olive oil during your last holidays in Umbria.
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 an effort.
If you are gluten-free, this is a good recipe to use boiled rice leftovers too. As a further alternative, you could substitute the pasta with two tablespoon cooked cannellini beans per person. Just saute them first in a pan with a little garlic and olive oil before gently float them on the soup.
- 1/2 kg (1 lb) spinach, cleaned
- 1 onion
- 1 lt ( 1 quart) boiling water or stock
- 1 teaspoon flour or corn starch
- 60 gr (2 ounces) fresh pasta noodles per person
- 2 teaspoon freshly grated Parmesan per person
- a good 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, 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 spinach puree into bowls, add the pasta, a sprinkle of grated Parmesan, drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and serve immediately.