Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Tortellini Soup

In a display of traditional gender roles that would make 1950s housewives proud, I’m the one who does most of the cooking at the Cassity home. I’m sure Mike would be happy to fill this role, but I love to cook and he doesn’t so why force it on him in the name of feminism is what I say. And since he doesn’t cook the meals he’s in charge of the cleanup afterward, which is kind of a nice trade-off in my opinion.

Lately I’ve tried to put more effort into planning our meals so I’m not left making a bunch of last-minute grocery trips or just giving in to the temptation of eating Lonestar fish tacos every night (living close to that place is dangerous). Usually I make a weekly dinner plan and include one or two more indulgent, made-from-a-recipe-I’ve-been-wanting-to-try meals. These are the kind of things, like chicken tikka masala or broccoli cheddar chowder, that usually end up posted on this blog. The other meals we have are usually just a pinch-of-this, sprinkle-of-that kind of affair and are pretty basic and wholesome.

I like to think of the soup posted below as a combination of these two meal philosophies. It includes sausage and tortellini to provide some richness and fat, but these two ingredients are suspended in a simple broth of good-for-you veggies. And while this is a recipe from a cookbook, it’s essentially just a guide and can be modified to accommodate whatever changes you want to make. Truly the best of both worlds.

Tortellini Soup (from the Ivory Favorites cookbook)
I didn’t have apple juice or white wine on hand when I made this so I just substituted water, but I think it could have used that dimension of flavor so I’ll be sure to have it next time. I also had a lot of baby spinach on hand so I stirred a couple of handfuls into the soup when it finished cooking. And if I were the only one eating this I also would have omitted the sausage but Butch loves himself some meat so here we are.

1 pound mild Italian sausage
1 onion, chopped
2 gloves garlic, minced
1 cup water
2 (13 3/4 oz) cans beef broth (I use Better Than Bullion Beef Base)
1/2 cup white wine or apple juice
3 carrots, sliced
1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
1 teaspoon basil
1 teaspoon oregano
1 cup sliced zucchini
4 tablespoons parsley, chopped
1 green pepper, chopped

1) In large soup pan, brown sausage.
2) Drain fat and add chopped onion and garlic and cook until tender
3) Add broth, water, wine, carrots, tomatoes, basil, oregano, zucchini, parsley and green pepper.
4) Simmer for 30 minutes or longer.
5) Add tortellini 5 to 10 minutes before serving and cook until tender, but not soggy.
6) Garnish each serving with parmesan cheese

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