Sunday, January 9, 2011

Tortellini & Spinach Soup

I'm back to work full-time after a loooong hiatus. I still haven't gotten my routine down and find myself forgetting the little tips and tricks required of us working folks. Currently I have blisters from walking partway to work in stupidly tall (but awesome) heels so I've taken the bus to rectify my nonsensible shoe problem and have missed it, twice.

Back in my working days I was pretty good about making a weekly meal plan and sticking to it. I would plan meals for 5 days, counting on having leftovers for dinner one night and eating out another night. My grocery lists were meticulous, written down by department, so I could zip through the store without much hassle. The meals that were more time-consuming would get partly made, or at least prepped, on the weekend and the other nights I had a repertoire of quick dinners in rotation. This soup is one of them.

My mom made something like it when I was growing up and I've tweaked it and changed it over the years. It takes about 20 minutes from start to finish to make and is so very good. It's hearty, healthy and when made with high-quality Italian tomatoes, fresh tortellini and garnished with salty Parmesan and bright lemon it encompasses so many of my favorite flavors.

When you get home from work and are wavering between buying something quick, ordering takeout, or eating cereal for dinner, make this instead.

For 3-4 servings:
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 cup chopped yellow onion
  • 14 ounces (400 grams) diced tomatoes
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • Pinch crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
  • 8 ounces (250 grams) frozen chopped spinach, thawed
  • 2 cups reduced sodium chicken stock
  • 2 cups fresh tortellini
  • Grated Parmesan and lemon wedges for garnish
Warm the olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the garlic and onion and saute for 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes, salt and red pepper flakes, stirring occasionally for 5 more minutes. Stir in the spinach and broth. Turn the heat to high and bring to a boil. Add the tortellini, turn the heat down to a strong simmer and cook, until the tortellini are tender, about 5-6 minutes. Taste and season with more salt if necessary.

Ladle the soup into bowls and serve with the fresh lemon and Parmesan.