21 October 2008

Tortellini Soup

I went up to Boston this weekend to visit D-, my best friend from high school. Whenever we're together we make all of our favorite foods and since my visit coincided with Canadian Thanksgiving (D-'s boyfriend is Canadian) we got to have biscuits and green bean casserole and roast chicken. That, combined with homemade cookies, candies and everything else we ate made me promise to keep things light in the kitchen this week.

D- had mentioned she was going to make tortellini soup for dinner one night this week, so I decided to follow her lead. I'd never made tortellini soup but since I love all things pasta, it sounded good plus it had the added bonus of being really easy to fix. I honestly felt a little Sandra Lee (shudder) when getting everything together since I used store bought broth (with added onions, carrots, celery, garlic, peppercorns and a bay leaf) along with package tortellini. It really felt like cheating but after letting the soup simmer for an hour and then adding in the tortellini (which I cooked separately so I could evenly divide them for leftovers) it really tasted as close to homemade as possible. Well- I thought it did taste homemade but Zach detected some slight hint of packaged broth. His palate must just be more developed than mine. Recipe after the jump.

Tortellini Soup
Serves 8

2 qts. packaged chicken (or vegetable) broth
1 qt. water
1 T plus 1 t. olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
2 large carrots, chopped
1 heart of celery, chopped (I buy the whole thing then pull it all apart- then I have the stalks for snacking and the heart for cooking)
1 fat clove garlic, smashed
10 black peppercorns
1 bay leaf
4 sprigs fresh dill, divided
1 package premade cheese tortellini (I used Barilla brand shelf-stable kind)

- Heat 1 T. olive oil in a large soup pot. Add the veggies and garlic and cook over medium heat until softened, but not browned, 7-10 minutes.

- Add the stock and water along with the peppercorsn, bay leaf and 3 springs of dill. Bring to a boil then turn down to a simmer and cook for at least 20 minutes or an hour if you have time.

- Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to boil and cook tortellini according to package instructions, making sure to keep them al dente. If you will be serving all of the soup right away, drain the pasta and add to the soup before serving. If you are saving most of the soup: put the drained tortellini in a bowl and mix with 1 t. olive oil to prevent sticking, measure out the pasta into 8 equal portions (I did this by the divide and conquer method on my cutting board). If you are really averse to soggy pasta in your soup like I am, wrap all the portions you are going to save in plastic wrap and store along side the soup. Then when you are ready to heat the leftovers, you can heat the soup and tortellini separately and they won't get soggy.

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