Spinach, Tomato, and Tortellini Soup

One of my favorite things about this time of year is that it’s appropriate to eat soup at least once a week. Soup is one of my favorite foods–it’s flavorful, it’s light, and it’s endlessly customizable.  I’ve been known to order a nice hot bowl of tomato soup in the middle of Texas in July, which is why I’m so happy when it’s cold out.  Less odd looks coming my way.

This week I’m bringing you a soup recipe every day.  I realized some time ago that I had more than enough soup posts stocked up (pun!) to last me an entire week, so why not make a theme out of it.  This week is soup week, which precedes Merry-Happy-Ribbon-Paper-Eat all of the cookies-Week, so you’ll be ready to indulge after a week of moderation.

The first soup I’m bringing you worries me a bit.  I worry that you’ll see this recipe, make it immediately, then not come back to see the rest of the recipes because this Spinach, Tomato and Tortellini soup is that good.  It’s incredibly simple, really really flavorful, and has all the notes of a big plate of spaghetti with barely a fraction of the wonderful carbs and cheese that can weigh us down.

It starts with simple ingredients and ends with an incredibly satisfying bowl of comfort.

Let’s get started.

Assemble your ingredients.  Cheese tortellini, spinach, chicken stock, onion, garlic, diced tomatoes, oregano, parsley, and red pepper flakes.  Most of these are the same ingredients I would use in my tomato sauce, with the addition of nutritious spinach and chicken stock.  Not pictured: the old workhorse, olive oil.

In a large stock pot, add some olive oil and heat over medium heat.  Add the diced onion and minced garlic and let them cook until soft, about 3 minutes.  Add the diced tomatoes and stir to combine.

Add four cups of chicken stock to the tomato mixture and bring to a boil.

Season with salt, pepper, oregano, parsley, and red pepper flakes.

Let that come to a boil, then reduce the heat and let it simmer for about 10 minutes.

Add the cheese tortellini and cook until about 2 minutes shy of the package directions.  Fresh pasta cooks much faster than dried pasta, so this won’t take long.

When the tortellini has about 2 minutes left, add the spinach gradually by the handful.  Let the spinach wilt into the soup.

Grate some Parmesan cheese and you’re ready to serve!  Ladle the soup into bowls, making sure you get enough tortellini and enough broth.

Top with the Parmesan cheese and a little cracked pepper.  Take a bite/sip.  Marvel at how similar it tastes to a hearty bowl of pasta and then pat yourself on the back because it’s so much better.

The tomato broth is intensely flavorful and is the perfect home for those pillowy tortellini.  The spinach brings a veggie-freshness and shouldn’t be skipped.  I couldn’t get K on board with this–he’s not much of a soup fan, which means this week is not for him–but I couldn’t help but tell him (once or twice) what he was missing.  I’m fun to dine with.

This whole meal comes together in about 20 minutes so it’s perfect for a weeknight or for a hungry group of people just home from finishing their Christmas shopping.  It’s warming, it’s healthy, and it’s satisfying.  This is why I love soup.

Here’s the recipe.

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 14-ounce can of diced tomatoes with the liquid
  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon dried parsley
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes (less if you are spice-averse)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 8 ounces fresh cheese tortellini
  • 6 ounces fresh spinach
  • Grated Parmesan for serving

Method

  1. Heat olive oil over medium heat.  Add onion and garlic and cook until soft, about 3 minutes.  Add tomatoes and their liquid and stir to combine.  Add chicken stock, oregano, parsley, red pepper flakes, and salt and pepper.  Bring to a boil then reduce to simmer.  Simmer for 10 minutes.
  2. Add cheese tortellini and cook just shy of 2 minutes, according to package instructions.  With two minutes left, add the spinach, a handful at a time, until wilted.  Stir until all the spinach has been added and has wilted.
  3. Serve in bowls with grated Parmesan and a little cracked black pepper.