Winter Recipe: Spinach Tortellini Soup

12 Jan

To view text-only version of this recipe and complete ingredients listing, click here.

These greens will warm the "snowy day blues" right out of you.

Nothing’s better than coming in out of the snow to a piping hot bowl of soup, but what happens when you don’t have hours to let the kettle simmer before dinner?

This soup recipe can be thrown together and cooked in under thirty minutes, and it’s got all the hearty flavor of something that’s been bubbling for hours.

If you can’t find frozen or refrigerated cheese tortellini at your local discount grocery store, you can substitute using either cheese ravioli, or just regular boxed pasta noodles + a little bit of grated parmesan cheese in the soup.

Start by melting a tablespoon of butter/margarine in a deep pot over MEDIUM burner heat. Once melted, throw in about a cup of diced onions. (I keep these in the freezer so I don’t have to mess with chopping them every night.)

Sprinkle onions with a teaspoon each of garlic powder and salt, adding black pepper to taste if desired. Saute for two or three minutes or until they just begin to look translucent. You don’t want them to brown or carmelize for this recipe; just get them nice and soft.

Saute onions with butter, salt & pepper.

Add three (14-ounce) cans of chicken broth and about 4 cups of water. (When I’m feeling lazy, I just refill one of the broth cans with water twice. It’s close enough.)

Add the broth and water.

If you don’t want to buy chicken broth, you can always use six or seven boullion cubes + 10 cups of water for a base, but you may want to lay off the salt when you saute the onions if you’re doing it this way. (Reconstituted boullion tends to be saltier than canned broth.)

Increase the burner heat to MEDIUM-HIGH. Take 2 peeled carrots and either dice or scrape into the soup. (I use my peeler tool to just scrape off thin, longish pieces of carrots. Makes the soup look pretty and isn’t as tedious as dicing carrots.) Allow carrots to cook about 5-10 minutes, covered, before the next step.

Frozen creamed spinach. You'll need two boxes.

Once the carrots are tender, add the contents of 2 (10-ounce) packages of frozen creamed spinach to the soup. The creamed variety is sometimes hard to come by (my own local store only has it about half the time so I have to remember to stock up when I see it), so if you can’t find it, don’t fret. Just use the regular chopped variety instead and remember to add three or four tablespoons of heavy whipping cream or whole milk to your soup just before serving. (Milk products are best added right at the end to avoid overheating and curdling.)

Let the soup return to a good simmer after adding the spinach, before you throw in the pasta.

Allow soup to simmer as the spinach thaws and breaks up in the soup. (You can thaw it in the microwave before adding it if you want, to save cook time. That’s a good activity to get done while you’re waiting for the carrots to tenderize, actually.) You want to give it enough time to return to a good simmer before adding the pasta.

Add the tortellini and stir well.

Once spinach is hot and cooking, add the contents of a bag of frozen cheese tortellini to the soup. Stir well for about a minute and then remove soup completely from heat. You don’t want to prepare the tortellini in a rolling boil for several minutes the way you would if you were serving it by itself, because chances are, you’ll have leftover soup and you don’t want the tortellini to get mushy when you reheat it.

Mmm-mmm! Hot soup!

Let the soup stand (covered) for about 10 minutes before serving. This goes wonderfully with crusty bread or quick Warm-N-Serve rolls with butter. You can top it with grated mozzarella or parmesan, or serve laced with cream if you want to fancy it up, but it’s great just by itself, too!

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3 Responses to “Winter Recipe: Spinach Tortellini Soup”

  1. redforkhippie January 12, 2011 at 10:45 PM #

    Is this the recipe Geoff dubbed “snot soup,” or am I thinking of something else?

  2. Gracie January 13, 2011 at 9:08 AM #

    Yeah, I was tastefully going to omit that anecdote for the blog post, but yes — due to the creamy green nature of the soup, he calls it that. But it really is good soup!!

  3. redforkhippie January 13, 2011 at 6:18 PM #

    I think you should market it that way.

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