Use very young spinach leaves to prepare this light and fresh tasting soup.

  • 675 g / 1½ lb fresh spinach leaves, washed
  • 45 ml / 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 small fresh red chili, seeded and finely chopped
  • 225 g / 8 oz / generous 1 cup risotto rice
  • 1.2 litres / 2 pints / 5 cups vegetable stock
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • shavings of pared Parmesan or Pecorino cheese, to serve
  1. Place the spinach in a large pan with just the water that clings to its leaves after washing. Add a large pinch of salt. Heat gently until the spinach has wilted, then remove from the heat and drain, reserving any liquid.
  2. Either chop the spinach finely using a large kitchen knife, or place in a food processor and process the leaves to a fairly coarse puree.
    You can substitute Swiss chard for the spinach, if you like.
    Buy Parmesan or Pecorino cheese in the piece from a reputable supplier, and it will be full of flavor and easy to grate or shave with a vegetable peeler.
  4. Heat the oil in a large pan. Add the onion, garlic and chili and cook gently for 4-5 minutes, until softened. Stir in the rice until well coated, then pour in the stock and reserved spinach liquid. Bring to the boil, lower the heat ,and simmer for 10 minutes.
  5. Add the spinach and season with salt and pepper to taste. Cook the soup for a further 5-7 minutes, until the rice is tender. Taste and adjust the seasoning, if necessary. Ladle into heated bowls, top with the shavings of Parmesan or Pecorino, and serve immediately.
Spinach and Rice Soup