Clay's Kitchen : Ricette Italiane (Italian Recipes)

Ricette Italiane (Italian Recipes)

© Copyright 1995-2017, Clay Irving <>, Manhattan Beach, CA USA

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Crema d'Ortica

Recipe from: Laura Engles
Servings: Serves up to 8 as a first course, and 4 as a main course

Ortica possess many beneficial health properties. Considered an excellent herb for the blood because it contains iron, magnesium, manganese, potassium, calcium and silica, it also cleanses the liver and constricts veins. It helps break aprt calcium stones in the kidneys and pulls uric acid from the body. Using young leaves, ortica revitalizes the body. In addition, this silky smooth soup is delicious warm or at room temperature. Young spinach may be substituted for ortica.

2 pounds fresh ortica or young tender spinach
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons minced yellow onion
1,½ tablespoons potato starch mixed with
1 tablespoon water (optional),
1 quart milk or to desired taste and thickness
1 raw egg yolk, optional
5 tablespoons heavy cream
4 tablespoons grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
Freshly ground white pepper to taste.
2 cups dry whole wheat bread cubes.
Melted unsalted butter.

Steam leaves, drain and squeeze as dry as possible. Finely chop. Over medium heat in a medium sauté pan, melt the butter and sauté the onion for 2 minutes. Add the chopped ortica or spinach leaves and sauté for 5 minutes. Remove from the heat, cool, then transfer to a blender or food processor fitted with the metal chopping blade. Pour in a little milk and purée. Transfer purée back into sauté pan. Heat over medium heat, stir in the remaining milk (and starch if a thicker soup is preferred.) Simmer for about 10 minutes. Season to taste. Meanwhile, fry the dried bread cubes in the melted butter for a few minutes until golden. Transfer to a plate. Mix the egg yolk, if using, with the cream and pour into the soup tureen. Slowly ladle in the steaming soup. Vigorously stirring with the yolk mixture. Add the Parmigiano-Reggiano, taste and adjust seasonings. To serve; put some fried bread cubes in the bottom of each soup bowl and ladle the Crema di Ortica over. Serve immediately.

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