I'm making good on my promise to post about something other than a dessert. Voila, Rice and Spinach Soup, which I found in one of my favorite cookbooks, From Biba's Italian Kitchen. The ingredients are few, fresh and uncomplicated, but the resulting soup is rich and satisfying, without being heavy. I have a feeling I'll be making this soup a lot this winter. The only departure I made from the methods in the original recipe is that I tempered the egg mixture with some of the hot broth, so that the eggs wouldn't curdle when I added them back into the main soup pot. I recommend you go buy this book, because every recipe I've made from it has turned out wonderfully. Without further blather, here is the recipe:
Rice and Spinach Soup
(minestrina di riso e spinaci)
1 lb fresh spinach, stems and bruised leaves discarded
pinch of salt
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 quarts chicken broth
3/4 cup rice (arborio preferred)
3 large eggs
salt to taste
pinch freshly grated nutmeg
1/3 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
Wash the spinach thoroughly under cold running water. Bring 2 cups of water to a boil over medium heat. Add pinch of salt and the spinach and cook, uncovered, until tender, 5-6 minutes. Stir a few times during cooking. Drain the spinach and squeeze out any excess water. Chop the spinach with a large knife or in a food processor pulsing the machine on and off. Do not puree the spinach.
Heat the butter in a medium skillet over medium heat. When the butter begins to foam, add the spinach and mix quickly. Place spinach in a medium mixing bowl and set aside.
Bring the broth to a boil in a medium-sized pot over medium heat. Add the rice and cook until tender but firm to the bite, about 15 minutes.
Beat the eggs in a medium-sized bowl. Season with salt and nutmeg, and add the cheese, blending thoroughly. Stir the egg mixture into the spinach. To temper the eggs, slowly add 2-3 ladles full of hot broth to the egg-spinach mixture, pouring in a thin stream and whisking quickly. Add the tempered egg-spinach mixture to the soup pot and bring to a gentle simmer. Cook 2 to 3 minutes longer, stirring. Taste and adjust seasoning, and serve hot.