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Classic Italian Soups That Will Last You Through The Week

CREAM OF SPINACH AND LEEKS WITH LENTILS AND GINGER

Serves four

600 g (1.3 lbs) spinach
2 leeks
1 potato
200 g (7 oz) dried lentils rinsed in cold water
1 carrot
1 stalk celery
a piece of fresh sliced ginger
1 clove garlic
extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper
Wash the spinach. Slice the leeks and cut potato into chunks; rinse under cold water. Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a pot and sauté the leeks, stirring constantly. Add the potato, spinach and enough hot water to cover. Simmer for 30 minutes, and then blend until smooth and creamy. Peel dice the carrot; dice the celery. Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a pot and add the vegetables, crushed garlic and the ginger; stir. Cook covered for 5 minutes with the lid partly on, until the vegetables are soft
Add the lentils and stir in 3 cups of hot water. Lower the flame and simmer until the lentils are tender. Drain and add to the spinach mixture. Simmer for a few minutes and then serve.

TUSCAN BEAN AND BLACK KALE SOUP (RIBOLLITA)

Serves four

300 g (10.5 oz) dried cannellini (white) beans
300 g (10.5 oz) black kale
1 onion
1 clove garlic
1 carrot
1 stalk celery
1 tbsp tomato paste
2 sage leaves, extra virgin olive oil, salt and pepper

Rinse the beans and soak in warm water for 8 hours. Drain, place in a pot and add the unpeeled garlic, the sage and a teaspoon of salt. Cover with cold water and simmer for about 2 hours or until tender. Set aside the cooking liquid. Rinse the kale, remove the central ribs and chop coarsely. Finely slice the onion and sauté in 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Dice the carrot and celery, and stir into the onion. Add the kale and cook uncovered for 15 minutes until wilted. Stir the tomato paste into half a cup of hot water; add to the kale. Purée half of the beans and stir into the kale with the cooking liquid. Simmer for an hour, adding more warm water if necessary. A few minutes before turning off the burner, stir in the whole beans. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve with toasted bread and a drizzle of oil.

CHICKPEA-PUMPKIN SOUP WITH ROSEMARY

Serves four

200 g (7 oz) dried chickpeas
500 g (17.5 oz) fresh pumpkin
1 onion
1 clove garlic
1 chili pepper
1 sprig rosemary
1/2 c tomato sauce
extra virgin olive oil and salt

Soak the chickpeas in warm water overnight. Drain and boil in plenty of lightly salted water. When done, drain and set aside half of the chickpeas and the cooking liquid. Purée the other half into a large bowl. Cut the pumpkin into chunks. Finely slice the onion and sauté with the crushed garlic and the chili pepper in 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Add the pumpkin and cook for a few minutes. Stir in the tomato sauce, the rosemary, the pureed chickpeas and enough cooking liquid to cover. Cover and simmer for 30 minutes. Mash the pumpkin with a fork, stir in the remaining chickpeas and salt to taste, adding a little warm water if necessary. Cook for a few minutes, and serve with a drizzle of oil and some freshly ground black pepper.

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