Rustic Spinach and Cornmeal Soup

Rustic Spinach and Cornmeal Soup

So I hear that it’s cold and rainy up north, there and that can only mean one thing. Soup weather! It may still be in the 80’s down here, but we’re finally waking up to cool breezes. Nothing is more exciting than the end of a brutal Miami summer and the promise of blue skies and outdoor dining for the next 6 months. You may hate me if you wish, but you guys get Fall and snow on Christmas. It’s a trade off.

Not matter what the season, soup is my all time favorite thing to make. I love chopping the onions and garlic and the way they smell in hot olive oil. I love the warm simmering pot and the glossy look of the bubbling broth. And most of all, I love being able to taste and adjust along the way, adding more spice or more acid until it’s just perfect. So when I saw Lidia Bastianich’s recipe for Rustic Spinach and Cornmeal Soup in this month’s Bon Appetit, I knew it would be just the kind of thing I love.

Rustic Spinach and Cornmeal Soup

Of course I changed a few things. Using roasted garlic instead of raw and arugula as well as spinach, for example. But I kept it close to the original because you don’t need to mess with such a simple recipe. The soup was warm and thick, perfumed with roasted garlic and full of tender greens. The last thing I did was add toasted Parmesan rindsfor surprising pockets of toasty salty cheese. All in all, the ideal soup for cold and rainy days.


  1. Can’t wait to give this a try….as yes, it’s rain, rain, rain here in the Pacifice Northwest. One little bitty question: Are these parm rinds edible? If so, I had no idea. I thought they were used just to enhance. Thanks, Irene

  2. irene – they’re definitely edible! Just remove any peel. I just saw this technique at Simply Recipes and knew it would be great.

  3. I adore simple soups! This one sounds lovely with the parmesan rinds and I love the roasted garlic sub.

    My mind is kind of clouded by squash soup recipes at the moment – so nice to see something different!

  4. That sounds absolutely delicious, and healthy to boot! Thanks for sharing :)

  5. Made this soup tonight to warm the chill from a cold, windy, rainy day. It was perfect. We made one change, and added some fresh green beans about 6 minutes before serving. Thanks for the recipe.

  6. I have never tried to make a soup with corn meal, so this is unique. I do not eat enough spinach so putting it soup is a perfect way to get some iron and nutrients too.

  7. Last week it was a record 113 degrees here, and this week in the 60’s – I am soooooooo ready for a delicious bowl of soup, and this looks like exactly what I’m hankering for.

  8. Well, I tried this for dinner tonight, and unfortunately, I was not a fan. It was a bit bland in my opinion. Which is disappointing, because I love Lidia! Oh well…

  9. I’ve had my eye on both of these recipes. It’s very chilly in Kentucky this week. I can’t wait to try these!

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  11. I am thrilled to find this today!
    It is spring, way way down here in South America and today is a gloomy cool day..perfect for soup.
    And I just happen to have all the ingredients for this.. muchas gracias! chau, C

  12. I love polenta but have never come across it prepared this way as a soup, very excited to try this!!

  13. Love the sound of this. Plus, it is perfect soup weather here.

  14. Made this tonight, and it was great!

    My notes:
    notes I found/on the recipe:

    * when it says whisk, it is not joking… go to town, italian grandma style! at the first whisk, once you see that the polenta is not going to clump, go ahead and add the butter, then whisk after each cupful… the key is to stir and whisk so the soup become smooth, not clumpy
    * you will def need more that six cups of broth… closer to 7-8. look on the package and see how many cups are in the box/can. I got one of those big ol’ ones from Swanson– it had exactly 6 cups, so I had to bust open more broth. Had to add more in the last 15 mins cuz the soup thickened up
    * ALSO, I used reduced sodium broth, and it was enough salt for sure!
    * added a smoky pancetta to the soup, but i bet plain ol bacon or proscuitto that’s cut thick or in chunks would be amazing. Added it before the last 20 minutes so it simmered along.
    * SUPER IMPORTANT: have fun with spices– so odd there are none listed in the recipe! I added garlic pepper (my new fave spice in the grocery store aisle!), hella black pepper, rosemary and thyme and a half a bay leaf. And def roast the garlic, it’s worth the flavor!!!

  15. Thanks so much for this. This might sound weird, but I spent the first couple of years of my life in Sicily, then travelled all over the world. Now I’m living in New Zealand, with my Chinese wife, and son we had whilst in Japan! Truly international, eh? Anyway, I’ve been trying to rediscover the smells and tastes of my youth with some authentic Italian recipes like these, best I’ve found so far! Thanks again, I’ll see if I can add the feed to my google reader tonight, though my son usually does that for me!

  16. Just made this tonight and loved it. We used grits instead of polenta without any trouble, for a low-budget Southern twist.

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