Gloomy rainy winter morning, just perfect for a warm spinach artichoke soup. I was actually determined to go back to bed and sleep in until the sun shine peeked through the clouds and woke me up with a warm kiss. It’s been ages since I’ve indulged in that kind of ultimate relaxation “Il dolce far niente”…
But then, just as I was making my way up the stairs, I heard through the grapevine that my neighbor down the street is having an estate sale. I always mean to stop by those events but somehow I never make it. So I postponed my spinach artichoke soup recipe project and reluctantly put on my superwoman outfit: yoga pants and rain boots and snuck between the rain drops across the street. Apparently no kind of weather is going to keep away the real treasure hunters. There were people and cars everywhere, way before 9 am, and in my opinion way too much energy for a rainy Saturday morning.
Two minutes into it, I was already feeling overwhelmed by the crowds and all the stuff, my resolution for this year being to de-clutter and simplify the way we live; so what the heck am i doing here in the first place ? I was about to leave with thoughts of cozy blankets in my mind and cravings of a bowl of spinach artichoke soup, when I glanced over to a pile of old books. Mostly science-fiction and comic books, not really my cup of coffee. And then an old, cartoony hard cover caught my eye. Are you ready for this ? A 1979 edition of Marcella Hazan’s “More Classic Italian Cooking” , no kidding kids ! There are a couple of stains,tears and penciled in notes, great shape considering its age; I mean this book is older than me.
I scored this little treasure for $1 and off I went straight back to the shack to dive into it. But first I whipped up this rainy day unpretentious rustic spinach and artichoke soup, infused with garlic flavors, lemon zest, chives and crunchy pine nuts.
If you like spinach and artichoke dips I strongly suspect you will love this spinach artichoke soup. Simple and with just a handful of ingredients, tons of fresh flavors with a rustic texture, and a tiny, symbolic amount of cream. I used my hand-held blender to roughly puree some of the soup before adding in more spinach to wilt into it just before serving. Dress it up with your favorite herbs and nuts, I’d recommend trying it chilled as well on a hot day. It reminds me in some ways of a nice gazpacho.
- 2 oz x 14 cans artichoke hearts packed in water
- 2 c baby spinach organic
- 6 cloves garlic peeled
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 6 c vegetable stock low sodium
- 1/2 c white wine dry
- 1/4 c heavy cream
- 1/4 c pine nuts toasted
- 1/ c c microgreens organic
- 10 garlic chives snipped
- 3 thyme sprigs
- zest from 1 organic lemon
- sea salt to taste
- red pepper flakes to taste
In a medium soup pot on low flame add the olive oil. Smash the garlic cloves with the side of a chess knife and add them to the oil. Cook them until lightly golden all over, making sure not to burn them. Drain the artichoke hearts well and add them to the soup pot together with the thyme sprigs. Stir to combine and pour in the wine. Simmer for a few minutes until the wine is reduced by half then pour in the vegetable stock. Bring to a simmer and let the flavor merry on low flame for 10 minutes.
At the last minute stir in the cream and remove from flame. Discard the thyme sprigs and add half of the spinach to the soup then stir to combine. It will quickly wilt from the steam. Using a hand held blender puree the soup to your liking. I prefer a rustic texture so a buzz or two will do for me. Adjust seasonings to your taste with the sea salt and stir in the remaining spinach. Once wilted ladle the soup into bowls and drizzle some nice extra virgin olive oil on top. Sprinkle with the pine nuts, the chives, microgreens and red pepper flakes. Finish with the lemon zest on top.