If you’re like me and hit the holiday cookies hard, you’ll find this a perfect option for post-holiday “recovery”. A simple, vegetarian dish, it works equally well to feed a dinner party, as it does on any given Thursday night. Nourishing and healthy, this soup is full on flavor and pleases the crowd. In fact another favorite purpose for this comforting stew is to deliver to friends in their time of need- whether they are coming home from the hospital with a new baby (not happening that frequently anymore at this stage in my life), or could otherwise use a home cooked meal. Like many Italian-style soups, it can benefit from tossing in the rind of parmigiano reggiano cheese (learn more). It is not a necessary addition, however, and will be delicious without it.
Vegetable Tortellini Soup
- 1 large onion peeled and cut into pieces
- 8 garlic cloves peeled
- ¼ cup fresh basil
- ¼ cup fresh parsley
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1 cup celery chopped
- 1 cup carrots chopped
- 1 28- ounce can chopped tomatoes or use 2 pounds fresh chopped tomatoes
- 1 pound boiling potatoes cut into small chunks
- 4 cups chicken broth or vegetable broth
- 1 10-12 ounce package tortellini
- 1 tablespoon kosher salt
- 1 bunch spinach or baby spinach washed
- 1 cup frozen peas
- ¼ cup dried mushrooms
- freshly ground black pepper
- grated parmigiano-reggiano for serving
- Soak the mushrooms in warm water and set aside.
- In a food processor, blend the onion, garlic and herbs with half of the olive oil until finely ground. Warm the remaining olive oil in a large stock pot and saute the onion mixture over medium heat, stirring to prevent sticking if necessary, for 5-8 minutes until softened.
- Add the celery and carrots and cook another 5 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes and scrape up any bits sticking to the bottom. Stir in the potatoes and the dried mushrooms (roughly chopped). Finally add the chicken stock, salt, and any liquid from the mushrooms (leaving the sediment on the bottom of the bowl). Bring to a simmer and cook over medium-low heat for 50-60 minutes.
- Stir in the peas, pasta, and spinach, partially cover and cook another 10 minutes. Taste for seasoning and add more salt and some freshly ground black pepper, if needed.