To say that I love soup wouldn’t quite be enough. I heart it. I have a box with all of my soup keepsakes under my bed and at night I practice writing my name with soup’s last name.
Too much information?
Anyway, ATK’s Light & Tasty has a version of soup that elevates a delicious vegetable soup by combining it with a tortellini soup.
A regular tortellini soup is mostly just a garlic broth with cheese tortellini and wilted spinach leaves tossed into it. That’s a very tasty combination, but the texture always leaves me wanting. It’s light, it’s mushy, and I suppose it will do on a cold night when you want pasta and a hot soup and can’t decide which you prefer.
A vegetable soup is usually a barbaric concoction of kitchen sink vegetables and beans with a broth, and I end up with more vegetables that I don’t care for than ones that I do.
Now we have the perfect hybrid — the cheese tortellini goodness and the favored vegetables together, at last, they way they were always meant to be.
Or maybe I’m just a sucker for anything with zucchini and pasta.
Whatever the case is, this soup is incredible and I definitely recommend it. It’s also a quick and easy recipe with very little mess, which is why I added the “Weeknight Cooking” label above. When I described the dish to Citizen Chef, he commented that it sounded too light. If this is your concern, fear not — there’s a lot going on in this soup. The vegetables are very hearty and, to top it off, there’s a cheese pasta in the mix. I served this with garlic bread and, when my household had finished off our meals, we were stuffed and happy.
Tortellini & Vegetable Soup
Adapted from ATK’s Light and Healthy 2010
6 garlic cloves, minced
1 zucchini, seeded and cut into 1/2 inch pieces
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 onion minced (about 1 cup)
1 teaspoon minced fresh thyme or 1/4 teaspoon dried
6 cups low sodium chicken broth
3 bay leaves
1 (9-ounce) package fresh cheese tortellini
2 1/2 cups baby spinach
1 cup frozen peas
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
1/8 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Measure out and reserve 1 teaspoon of the minced garlic. Combine the zucchini, 1 teaspoon of the oil, and 1/8 teaspoon salt in a large Dutch oven. Cover and cook over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until the zucchini releases its juice, 3 – 5 minutes.
As a reminder, when the recipe calls for a small, specific amount of oil or salt, I know a lot of people don’t measure that. They just “eyeball” the amount. I typically do that as well however, because this book shows the “light and healthy” versions of food, I measure. There’s no point in calling it light and healthy if we’re not being careful to cut back where we can.
Uncover, increase the heat to medium and cook, stirring occasionally, until the zucchini is golden brown and just tender, 2 – 3 minutes longer. Transfer the zucchini to a plate.
Combine the onion, garlic (minus the reserved teaspoon), the remaining 1 teaspoon oil and 1/8 teaspoon salt in the pot. Cover and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until softened, 8 – 10 minutes. Uncover and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is lightly browned, 4 – 6 minutes longer.
Stir in the thyme and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in the broth and bay leaves, scraping up any browned bits. Bring to a simmer, add the tortellini, and cook, stirring often, until just tender, 3 – 6 minutes.
I got lucky – my grocery store carries fresh whole wheat tortellini, so I scored some of that for the soup. I thought the whole wheat version was delicious, so if you can get that, do it.
Off the heat, stir in the zucchini, spinach and peas, cover and let sit until heated through, about 3 minutes.
Stir in the reserved 1 teaspoon garlic and basil. Season the soup with salt and pepper to taste, ladle into bowls and sprinkle each portion with some of the cheese before serving.
Eat up. Yum.