Saturday, November 15, 2008

Greens soup

By about December, W. is saying, "Green soup, again?" But I crave it fall, winter, and into the spring. We are getting arugula in abundance from our CSA, and braising green mix is at the farmer's market again--kale and chard and other healthy leafys all in one bag. So Saturday lunch, after we get home from the market with bags of produce, is more often than not a big bowl of salty broth and smooth greens, studded with my concession to childhood--little cheese raviolis. It is especially welcome after a morning whiled away with too many pastries and too much coffee.

There's a part of me that is so absolutely satisfied by this kind of recipe, one that uses up those bits and pieces of kitchen scraps that are usually discarded. Orangette's recipe for tomato soup using up your cilantro stems? All over it. Broth coaxed out of the bones and chewy bits that are left behind after we tear into a roast chicken? Oh yeah. Cheese rind in soup? Yes please.

The above picture is the soup made heartier with chickpeas made in bulk earlier in the week and served with toast and the last of the last of the end-of-season tomatoes, roasted slowly all day and stored in Mason jars with their oily juices and garlic.

Green Soup (serves 4) (inspired by a recipe from Verdura, by Viana La Place)

a splash of olive oil
2 cloves garlic, chopped
dried red pepper flakes

1/2 pound braising greens or mixed dark-green leafys (kale, spinach, chard, mustard greens, etc.), roughly chopped, large stems discarded
several large handfuls of arugula, roughly chopped, large stems discarded

the rind of a small wedge of Pecorino Romano cheese, chopped (about 1/4 c.)
several handfuls small dried raviolis or other small pasta

Put oil, garlic, and pepper flakes into a heavy soup pot. Cook over medium-low heat until fragrant. Add 4 cups water and a pinch of salt, turn heat to high, and bring to a boil. Add greens, then sprinkle cheese over the top. (If you add the cheese first, it will stick to the bottom of the pot. If you dump it all at once instead of sprinkling, you'll have one big clump of cheese instead of nice chewy bits throughout your soup.) Add raviolis, press down a bit to make sure they are partially submerged, and return to a boil without stirring.

When your soup is bubbling, turn heat to medium-high, stir, and let boil gently until your ravioli are done. Taste to adjust seasoning. You can add cooked chickpeas or white beans at this point, letting them just heat through, if you want a more substantial soup.

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