I’m still recovering from foot surgery. After an hour (at most) on my feet I’m achy and need to sit for a while with my feet up. What does this have to do with cooking, you ask?
Tom’s been doing the grocery shopping. This is not a hardship for him; he always does the bulk of the grocery shopping. But I’m the one who keeps us supplied with the harder-to-find items (hard to find in a small Midwestern town, at least). That involves driving 45 minutes to an enormous store with a fantastic selection. It takes a good hour to get around the store, more than I can handle at this point.
Meanwhile, I’m relying on my pantry. This soup combines the last of our favorite items: chicken andouille, fire-roasted tomatoes, roasted red peppers, and fresh tortellini (from my stash in the freezer). The soup goes together quickly but tastes like it’s simmered for hours.
I love the color contrast of spinach tortellini floating in the intensely red broth. Ribbons of spinach accent that contrast. The sweet roasted peppers balance the acidity of the roasted tomatoes, and the tortellini make it a meal. A small handful of fresh basil, chopped and tossed in at the last minute, would be perfect, but parsley also provides that herbal goodness.
Use whatever stuffed pasta (tortellini, tortoloni, ravioli) you like. I’ve made this soup without the spinach, stirred a few tablespoons of heavy cream in at the last minute, and added a few shots of hot sauce for vinegary heat. You can certainly leave the sausage out and use vegetable stock for a vegetarian option.
Tortellini Soup with Fire-Roasted Tomatoes
1/2 cup finely chopped spicy sausage (I used chicken andouille)
2 tbs. olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 stalk celery, chopped
1 fresno chile, minced, optional
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup pesto, or 2 tsp. dried basil
1 cup chopped roasted peppers (1 large roasted pepper), chopped
16 oz. chopped fire-roasted tomatoes
6 cups chicken stock, about
8 oz. fresh or frozen tortellini
2 cups thinly sliced fresh spinach
chopped fresh basil or parsley, to garnish
In a large stockpot over medium-high heat, brown the sausage in the oil. When the sausage bits have some lovely toasty bits, add the onion, garlic, celery, and chile if using. Cook for about 5 minutes, stirring frequently, until the vegetables are softened. Season lightly with salt and pepper.
Stir in the pesto, roasted red peppers, tomatoes, and stock. Once the soup reaches a boil, reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer, covered, for about 30 minutes. Taste and adjust the seasoning. At this point you can purée part of the soup for a thicker texture.
Add the tortellini and simmer for another 10 to 15 minutes until the tortellini is tender. Stir in the spinach in the last 5 minutes of cooking.