Recently I came upon an unusual recipe for watercress and arugula soup with spaetzles from one of my favorite chefs, Yotam Ottolenghi. It got me thinking about a different way to use up the Italian parsley in my garden that had grown to epic proportions. I decided to adapt his recipe by eliminating the arugula altogether, using only parsley with a small amount of watercress. What resulted came as a surprise - this was one fantastic soup! It's earned a permanent spot in my recipe file.
Spaetzles are soft dumplings that are as simple to make as pancake batter. They add additional flavor and texture to this soup. The batter is mixed together by hand, then pressed through the holes of a colander into boiling water to cook for a minute or two. Traditionally they are then pan fried in a little butter to brown and crisp, but I omitted this step.
- 3 T. olive oil
- 2 medium onions, peeled and thinly sliced
- 2 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
- 1 large red potato, peeled and diced
- 4 cups of vegetable or chicken stock
- 1 bunch watercress, washed with stems removed
- 2 cups fresh Italian parsley, washed with stems removed
- 1 t. sugar
- salt and pepper
Heat the oil in a large saucepan. Add the onions and cook for about 5 minutes without browning. Add the garlic and potato and cook 5 minutes more. If the mixture starts sticking to the pan, add a tablespoon of stock to loosen. Add the watercress, parsley, stock, sugar, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, remove from heat, and puree using either an immersion blender or standard blender. Set aside while you make the spaetzles.
- 1 cup all purpose flour
- 2 large eggs
- 1/2 cup whole milk
- 1/2 cup whole milk ricotta cheese - see note
- 1 garlic clove, peeled and crushed
- 1/4 cup finely grated parmesan
- 1/4 t. ground allspice
- salt and pepper
To make the spaetzles, mix the flour with 1/2 t. salt and a few grinds of pepper. In another bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, ricotta, garlic, parmesan, and allspice. Mix in the flour until the mixture is uniform and the consistency of a thick pancake batter. Add a bit more milk if necessary.
Bring a large pan of water to a boil and place a colander on top. Spoon the spaetzle mixture into the colander and using the back of a spoon, push it through the holes into the simmering water. Blanch for a minute, until they rise to the surface, lift out with a slotted spoon, and transfer to the pot of soup. Or if you prefer a crispier spaetzle, pan fry with a little butter until lightly browned.
Serves 4 - 6
Don't miss a single post CLICK HERE to subscribe