Hearty, delicious, yet quick and easy Italian Spinach Soup Recipe; it is packed with fresh spinach and grated Parmesan Cheese. Vegetarian, healthy and so filling.
This spinach soup recipe works both as an entree and as a light meal in and of itself. This recipe will feed five or six people – depending on how hungry they are – and produce a nourishing green soup perfect for the winter table.
Although you can use frozen spinach if you’d like, for authentic Italian spinach soup you want to use fresh spinach, preferably with whole leaves. Spinach was actually introduced to Italy – Sicily, to be precise – in the ninth century by the Saracens, who brought it all the way from the area we now know as Israel. In fact, spinach is so nutritious that, during the First World War, French soldiers weakened by wounds or hemorrhages were given a mixture of wine and spinach juice to rejuvenate their strength. This spinach soup recipe doesn’t include any wine, but feel free to pair yours with a nice Italian white if you’re so inclined. Soave and Bianco di Custoza, with their neutral, dry flavor, do not dominate the palate as other wines do, and will allow your spinach soup to take the spotlight.
Remember to be conservative with the nutmeg, because you don’t want the spice to overpower the spinach or parmesan. Spinach’s flavor doesn’t have Popeye’s strength, and its slight bitterness needs to be given room to interact with the saltier taste of your parmesan.
Parmesan, known in Italy as the “King of Cheeses”, can be a fickle friend. Try and get the highest quality of parmesan that you can: parmigiano-reggiano is the real deal, made in Italy, and it should be hard and crumbly to the touch. In Europe, the term “parmesan” refers only to that produced in the Italian provinces of Parma, Reggio Emilia, Bologna, Modena or Mantua, but outside of the EU the term is often used generically. Readers in the United States in particular ought to make sure they know the difference between generic “parmesan” cheese and authentic parmigiano-reggiano: the latter is the name used to refer to the high-quality cheese imported from Italy, while the former refers to branded imitations. One easy test (apart from the difference in price) is to smell the cheese. Pre-grated imitation “parmesan” often has a sour, tangy smell that some people even think reminds them of vomit, while the Italian wheel of parmigiano has a smell more reminiscent of the cheese’s subtle umami flavors. The reason for this is that parmesan contains two chemicals called butyric and isovaleric acid. These short-chain fatty acids are the same proteins present in our stomach acid and sweat – not very appetizing to think about, but an easy way of telling the difference between smelly impostor parmesan and a nice thick wheel of the real Italian variety.
Finally, if you’re feeling particularly intrepid and want to add a little something extra to your Italian spinach soup, try serving your crostini with prosciutto wrapped around it. If you can get it, prosciutto di parma is ham actually fed on the whey left over from the initial stage of the parmesan curing process: it has a slightly nutty flavor to it that complements that of the spinach, and will lend a unique, if slightly unorthodox, character to your Italian spinach soup.
Best Spinach Soup RecipePrint