1/2 pound tender asparagus, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 cup freshly shelled young peas
1 ounce fresh sorrel or borage leaves
2 quarts water
1 pound fresh young spinach leaves
1 ounce watercress, stemmed
Freshly ground pepper
1/2 cup fresh ricotta cheese
Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling
Warm the pure olive oil in a heavy, nonreactive 6-quart saucepan. Add the leeks, asparagus, peas, sorrel and 2 teaspoons salt and cook until warmed through. Add 1 cup of the water, cover and sweat the vegetables over moderate heat until the water has evaporated, about 10 minutes.
Add the remaining 7 cups of water and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Increase the heat to high and add the spinach and watercress. Cook, stirring to submerge the leaves, until wilted, about 2 minutes.
Transfer the soup to a bowl set in a larger bowl of ice. Stir the soup frequently to chill it quickly and thoroughly. Once it is completely cold, pour the soup into a blender and puree until smooth. Season with salt and pepper.
To serve, gently reheat the soup. Spoon it into warmed soup plates or bowls. Garnish each serving with 1 tablespoon of the ricotta and a drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil and serve.
Chef Paul Bertolli chose a Roero Arneis from Bruno Giacosa for the soup course because the spicy pear flavor of the Arneis grape matches the peppery note from the cress in the soup. A grassy Sauvignon Blanc would work nicely too.