Thursday, April 28, 2011
Tuscan Tortellini Soup
I love making (and eating) soup. No matter whether it's blowing snow or scorching heat, I'll never turn down a good bowl of soup. There are just so many reasons to love soup. Let's explore this.
1. What's more comforting than a bowl of warm broth and a hunk of crusty bread? Ok, maybe a cup of hot chocolate is a close second, but let's be honest here.
2. The combination possibilities are endless. You can take the most random ingredients and flavors and throw them in a pot together, and 9 times out of 10 you'll get something delicious.
3. If it's homemade and broth-based, you can almost guarantee that it's healthy. It's pretty hard to screw up broth and vegetables. (Just be sure you always use low sodium canned ingredients whenever you can.)
The thing is, I used to think making soup was all-day ordeal. Soup, to me, meant something that needed to simmer on the stove for an hour or two to taste good (and granted, some do). But this soup took that idea and blew it out of the water. It can be ready in a just half an hour. Oh trust me, it still tastes like it took that two-hour bath, but without all that waiting. Who knew you could have something comforting, filling, and healthy - and this damn delicious! - for dinner in 30 minutes? Rachel Ray would certainly be proud.
Tuscan Tortellini Soup
adapted from The Food You Crave
yields 4-6 servings
One 15.5-ounce can cannellini beans, preferably low-sodium, drained and rinsed
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 large onion, diced
3 medium carrots, peeled and diced
4 stalks of celery, diced
1/2 pound sliced zucchini (frozen works great)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme or 1 teaspoon dried
2 teaspoons chopped fresh sage or 1/2 teaspoon dried
1/2 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more to taste
6 cups low-sodium chicken stock
One 14.5-ounce can no-salt-added diced tomatoes with juices
1 pound fresh or frozen tortellini (filling up to you!)
2 ounces baby spinach leaves
freshly grated Parmesan cheese for garnish (optional)
1. Puree half of the cannellini beans with about a tablespoon of the chicken stock, or mash well with a fork in a small bowl. Set aside.
2. Heat the oil in a large soup pot over medium-high heat. Add the onion, carrot, celery, zucchini, garlic, thyme, sage, salt, and pepper, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are tender (about 5 minutes).
3. Add the broth and tomatoes and bring to a boil. Add the tortellini and boil for 7-10 minutes, or until tender.
4. Add the mashed and whole beans and the spinach, and cook until the spinach is wilted (about 3 minutes).
5. Serve topped with Parmesan and your a hunk or two of your favorite crusty bread... and enjoy!