Tag Archives: spinach

Spinach & Parmigiano Torta

We can’t get enough of leafy greens. Spinach, broccoli raab, escarole, beet greens, Swiss chard, kale, cabbage… at least one vegetable green and leafy finds its way to our table at every meal. And while I adore these vegetables simply steamed and dressed with lemon juice and olive oil, or sauteed with garlic and chili flakes, I love incorporating them in more “dressed up” dishes like the torta below.

Essentially a souffle, this torta is baked in a pretty oven-to-table pan so it can be served all puffed up and golden straight from its cooking vessel. Denser and less airy than a classic French souffle, it is a lovely main course accompanied by green salad and crusty bread. Try using different greens as they appear at the farmers’ markets this spring; spinach, always available, is an excellent jumping off point.


Serves 2 as a main course

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus extra for greasing the pan
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 pound fresh spinach, leaves only, washed thoroughly
  • 3 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 2/3 cup 2% or whole milk
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 2 large eggs, separated


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees (preferably set on convection bake). Lightly butter an 8-inch x 4-inch oven-to-table pan (or any ovenproof pan with a 4-cup capacity). Dust the bottom with 1 tablespoon of the Parmigiano.

Bring 2 quarts of water to a boil. Add 1 tablespoon of the salt and drop in the spinach. Cook 3 minutes, or until soft and silky. Drain, rinse under cool water to stop the cooking, and squeeze dry. Chop finely and set aside.

In a small but heavy-bottomed saucepan, melt the butter. Add the flour and cook, whisking constantly with a wire whisk, until the flour loses its raw smell, about 2 minutes. Do not allow the flour and butter mixture to take on any color, so monitor the heat carefully and whisk constantly.

Quickly pour in the milk, still whisking all the while to prevent lumps. Bring to a boil and cook over medium hear 3 minutes, or until thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. Whisk in the remaining 1/4 teaspoon of salt, the pepper, the nutmeg, and 1/4 cup of the remaining Parmigiano. Now whisk in the egg yolks, beating thoroughly to avoid scrambling them in the hot milk mixture. Beat in the spinach and set aside.


In a clean, dry bowl, beat the egg whites until soft peaks form, then gently fold into the spinach mixture.


Pour into the buttered oven-to-table pan and dust the top with the remaining tablespoon of Parmigiano. Bake in the preheated oven for 30 minutes, or until golden, set, and puffed. Serve hot.




Tuscan Cannellini Bean Soup with Spinach and Potatoes

This recipe takes me back to Lucca, a medieval walled city in Tuscany where my husband and I always stop to eat a lunch of thick, hearty soups. I say soups because frankly we skip the main course and order three soups instead: a farro soup; a lentil or bean soup such as this one; and a vegetable soup. Last week, craving the flavors of the soups we have savored in Lucca over the years, I came up with this simple, soothing recipe for lunch. A drizzle of raw olive oil just before serving and a sprinkling of freshly ground black pepper bring all the flavors in perfect balance.

You can use dried cannellini beans if you prefer, but in that case, you will need to allow for overnight soaking and longer cooking. Use 1/4 cup dried cannellini beans, soak overnight in cool water to cover, drain, and cook in fresh water to cover until tender, then proceed with the recipe below.

To make this soup the starter to a perfect meal, serve with thick slices of garlic-rubbed grilled bread for dipping. Follow the soup with a simple salad of greens tossed with grated carrots, lemon juice, olive oil, salt, and pepper, and the crazy delicious wild rice fritters above.

Serves 2

  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 small yellow onion, minced
  • 1 small carrot, minced
  • 1 small celery stalk, minced
  • 1 medium Yukon Gold potato, peel on, cut into 1/4-inch dice
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 cups water or chicken broth, plus extra as needed
  • 1 cup canned cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus extra for serving
  • 1/2 pound fresh spinach leaves, washed and dried


In a heavy-bottomed 2-quart pot, place 1 tablespoon of the olive oil, the onion, carrot, celery, potato, and garlic. Set over medium-low heat and cover with a tight-fitting lid. Cook about 10 minutes, stirring once in a while and adding a tablespoon or so of water as needed to prevent scorching, until the vegetables are starting to soften and the potato has lost its raw look.

Add the drained beans and season with the salt and pepper. Pour in the water or broth and cover again. Bring to a gentle boil and cook until the potato is completely tender and the beans have started to break down a bit, about 15 minutes. Using a fork, crush some of the beans against the side of the pot to thicken the soup.

Stir in the spinach, cover again, and cook 10 more minutes, or until the spinach is very silky. Taste for salt and adjust as needed. Serve hot, drizzled with the remaining tablespoon of olive oil and sprinkled with freshly ground black pepper.