Time for Soup
It’s January, I’m FREEZING, and it’s time for Easy Tortellini Soup.
Actually any soup is perfect this time of year for warming the belly, but I love this tortellini soup. It’s so simple to make, using frozen or refrigerated tortellini instead of noodles or rice. No fuss, no mus.
What are Tortellini?
Tortellini (plural for tortellino–who knew?) are a stuffed pasta (vegetable, cheese, or meat) that originated in Italy. Homemade tortellini are delicious, but if you’re not in the mood to lug out your pasta machine, the fresh or frozen versions are very good.
Food historians say that the shape of tortellini was based on the shape of the female navel. Hmm…maybe so.
The pasta dough used for making tortellini is rolled out fairly thick so it can hold the filling without falling apart. The dough is filled with cheese (often ricotta), meat, or some type of vegetable. My favorites are tortellini filled with spinach or mushrooms combined with cheese. And I think adding tomato or spinach to the pasta dough for tricolor pasta dough makes tortellini even more fun to eat.
I love tortellini served with a nice Alfredo sauce, but now I’ve been using it in my soup. Much lower in fat and calories, so my arteries and hips are thanking me.
My family loves when I substitute tortellini for pasta shells when I make pasta salad. They give the salad a fun texture and a delicious flavor. Give that a try some time.
What’s better Fresh, Frozen or Dried Tortellini?
Fresh, of course. Dried tortellini is often low in quality since the ingredients have to be made to sit on a shelf for long periods of time. Something about a pasta with dried cheese or vegetable doesn’t appeal to me.
Frozen isn’t a bad choice. It has a long shelf life, but the fresh ingredients it started out with are still preserved. Frozen is a happy middle ground in the world of tortellini.
Fresh is best. They can be found at most grocery stores in the refrigerated section. And usually there are several varieties to choose from. I usually use cheese-filled tortellini for this tortellini soup recipe. But I’ve been know to combine a couple different types of tortellini. The combination of cheese-filled tortellini and mushroom-filled tortellini tastes delicious in this soup.
Because Easy Tortellini Soup has lots of vegetables, it’s super healthy for you.
About those Veggies
Mushrooms are considered one of the healthiest foods on the planet. They are loaded with immune-boosting nutrients and also vitamin D, which most people living in the North are deficient in.
Spinach is also one of the most nutritious vegetables. A SUPER FOOD! Spinach provides iron and protein along with nutrients that benefit you skin, hair, and bone.
It’s also an easy vegetable to chop up super small. When it cooks in the broth, kids of all ages with a “selective palate” can barely see. It’s the perfect way to sneak in vegetables as they don’t even realize they’re eating it.
How to make Easy Tortellini Soup
I start the soup pot with the Holy Trinity–carrot, celery and onion–and saute this mixture until the onion is opaque in color. I then stir in the garlic and cook for just a minute.
It’s then time to add my homemade chicken broth that I store in Ziploc bagful (4-quart size) in the freezer for soup days.
Your favorite boxed/canned version will work just as well. Just be sure to check the sodium content on the store-bought versions. There are some huge differences among different brands.
I quickly cook the tortellini with sliced mushrooms (optional but so healthy for you).
I finish off cooking the soup by adding a couple handfuls of spinach. The spinach seems to wilt away to almost nothing so I like to use quite a bit, usually about 2 cups’ worth.
Variations of this Easy Tortellini Soup Recipe
Feel free to play with this basic recipe. Add frozen veggies if you want (just defrost them a bit first). Broccoli tastes good as does frozen peas. Anything goes, and it’s all so delicious.
Serve this with a crusty loaf of bread and a fresh salad with some hearty greens and you have the perfect winter meal.
Quick Tortellini Soup
- 1 Tablespoons olive oil
- 1 medium size carrot ,thinly sliced
- 1 celery rib, thinly sliced
- 1/2 small onion, minced
- 2 garlic cloves minced
- 1 32- ounce container chicken broth
- 1 19- ounce package frozen cheese tortellini or flavor of choice
- 1 cup mushrooms, thinly sliced
- 2 cups spinach, rough chopped
- In a large Dutch oven or stock pot, heat oil over medium heat. ADD carrots, celery and onion. COOK for approximately 10 minutes, stirring frequently, until onion look opaque.
- ADD the garlic and COOK for 1 minute.
- ADD the chicken broth and bring to a BOIL. Continue to BOIL for about 10 minutes.
- ADD the tortellini and mushrooms, if using, and COOK for another 4-5 minutes.
- As the tortellini being to rise to the top of the pot, ADD the spinach to wilt. SERVE.