My Recipe Box

A Soothing Soup, Ready in Minutes

by Joanne Smart

fromFine Cooking
Issue 47

Garlicky Tortellini, Spinach & Tomato Soup.

Whenever I feel a cold coming on, I turn to this satisfying soup. I figure that with its ample garlic, chicken broth, tomatoes, and spinach, plus its soothing heat, it must be doing something to make me feel better. But even when I’m not sick, I still enjoy this soup. Served with a crusty piece of bread, it makes a delicious lunch or dinner, and it’s incredibly easy to-make.

If you have some of your own stock handy, so much the better. But because you’re adding a lot of flavorful garlic, tomatoes, and fragrant basil to the soup, store-bought broth (preferably low-salt) works fine. I often use the broths packaged in resealable boxes, which taste fresher to me than canned broth. For this soup, boxed broth is especially handy because it comes in one-quart packages. For the canned tomatoes, I prefer organic brands, some of which offer the convenience of being already diced. Spinach can be time-consuming to prep, but once again you can turn to a convenience item—already washed baby spinach—without much of a loss of flavor (although you do pay a premium for it). Both fresh and frozen tortellini work in this soup, the former taking less time to cook.

Once you have your ingredients handy, it’s just a matter of throwing everything into the pot with a little time between additions. I like to sauté the garlic in the butter until it’s quite fragrant and just on the verge of turning golden brown. Next I pour in the broth and bring it to a boil. I start the tortellini in the broth and cook them until they’re a little more than halfway done before adding the tomatoes and turning the soup down to a simmer. Just when the pasta is done, I add handfuls of spinach and a few basil leaves and cook until these are just wilted, which takes only about a minute. Serve the soup hot with some grated Parmesan cheese. I guarantee you’ll feel better, even if you weren’t sick to start with.

Photo: Scott Phillips

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