Mama’s Tuscan Spinach Rice Soup Recipe
Here is a soothing and delicious soup from Italy, with creamy sweetness from rice, lots of healthy vitamins and minerals from spinach, carrots, celery, and zucchini, a great immunity boost from garlic, and fabulous antioxidant lycopene from canned crushed tomatoes. But the really super thing about this soup–besides how healthful it is and how quick it is to make–is its satisfying richness, without any dairy at all.
With its great body, Italian flavor, and eye appeal, this is the Sophia Loren of soups!
2 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium zucchini, ends removed, diced
1 rib celery, sliced thinly
2 cloves garlic, minced
Salt to taste
6 cups vegetable broth
2 tablespoons fresh parsley leaves, chopped
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 large carrot, scrubbed and grated
3/4 cup Arborio rice
freshly-ground black pepper to taste
8 ounces fresh spinach, well-washed and tough stems removed, coarsely chopped
1 cup canned crushed tomatoes in puree
freshly grated Parmesan for topping, optional
1.In a large heavy-bottomed soup pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add zucchini, celery, and garlic, stirring to coat with oil, and add a dash of salt. Cover tightly and allow to saute and steam for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
2. Add stock, carrot, herbs, rice, and salt and pepper to taste. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low, cover tightly and simmer for 10 minutes.
3. Add tomatoes and spinach to soup, stirring to combine. Cover and simmer 12 minutes.
4. Serve hot, passing the cheese for topping at table, if desired.
Serves 6 to 8.
Inspired by Soup Makes the Meal, by Ken Haedrich (Harvard Common Press, 2001).