There’s just something about soup. It wraps you up like a big bear hug and warms you from the inside out. I love the simple rhythm of making soup. First the chopping, then the stirring, until finally it’s time to ladle up bowls and pass them around the table.
As the leaves shimmer in shades of red, orange and yellow and the days shorten, beginning their slow and steady descent toward winter, soup season begins. It is a comforting welcome.
One of my favorites is a riff on minestrone. That’s the beauty of soup: it doesn’t usually require precise ingredients. It leaves room to swap and experiment.
So go ahead, test out this quick and easy cheese tortellini soup recipe, then make it your own. Swap kale for spinach and throw in some zucchini or potatoes.
Cheese Tortellini Soup
• 1 lb. pork or turkey Italian sausage
• 1 medium sweet or yellow onion, chopped
• 3 carrots, chopped
• 3 stalks celery, chopped
• 3 cloves garlic, chopped
• 1 tablespoon olive oil
• 1-28 oz. can San Marzano diced tomatoes (any diced tomatoes work, but San Marzano really do make a difference)
• 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
• 2 tablespoons honey
• 3-32 oz. boxes chicken stock (12 cups)
• 1 box cheese or pesto tortellini
• 1-6 oz. bag of spinach
• Salt and pepper to taste
In a large stock pot (think 6 to 8 quarts — this recipe makes a big pot of soup) brown the Italian sausage until cooked through. Set meat aside. In the same pot, drizzle in olive oil, toss in veggies and sauté until the onion is soft and translucent. Salt and pepper the vegetables. Add garlic and sauté for two more minutes. Add tomatoes, Italian sausage, balsamic vinegar and honey. Stir to combine. Add chicken stock and tortellini. Bring soup to a slow boil, stirring often until tortellini have plumped up and cooked through. Stir in spinach and let simmer on low, stirring often, until ready to serve. It’s important to stir and taste, stir and taste to make sure the broth is rich and flavorful.
I serve this soup with crusty bread, a sprinkle of salty parmesan cheese and a glass of hearty cabernet sauvignon. On that first cold night in fall, when the leaves are blowing around and you have to dig to find your favorite forgotten sweatshirt, this is the perfect recipe for dinner. … A warm hug on a cool night.