Sunday, December 21, 2014

Winter Solstice Celebrated with Tuscan Tortellini Soup

Today is winter solstice, the shortest day of the year and the longest night. It's officially the first day of winter and one of the oldest-known holidays in human history. Of course we don't need to be reminded since we've already had winter for a month. We can only hope this winter is NOT a repeat of last years and we can coast into spring with warmer days ahead. 

Robert  Frost does a wonderful job capturing the images of winter solstice.
Cook's notes: Tuscan  Tortellini Soup is quick, easy and comfort food in a bowl. The recipe was adapted from damndelicious.com  and noblepig.com  Serves 4-6
Ingredients:
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil 
  • 1 pound ground spicy Italian sausage 
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced 
  • 1 small onion, diced 
  • 4 cups chicken stock not chicken broth 
  • 2 (14. 5 oz. ) cans chunky tomatoes with garlic, basil and oregano 
  • 1/2 teaspoon each dried basil, oregano and parsley flakes
  • 1/8-1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes 
  • 1/2 can ( 6 oz. ) tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste 
  • 1 (9-ounce) package refrigerated three cheese tortellini 
  • 1 cup water
  • 3 tablespoons heavy cream 
  • small bag of baby spinach-torn pices and stems removed
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan 
  • 1 cup croutons 
  • optional adding in diced carrots and celery

Directions:
  • Heat olive oil in a large stockpot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add Italian sausage to the skillet and cook until browned, about 3-5 minutes, making sure to crumble the sausage as it cooks; drain excess fat. Stir in garlic and onion. Cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 3-4 minutes. 
  • Whisk in chicken stock, chunky tomatoes, tomato paste, sugar, basil, oregano, red pepper flakes and 1 cup water; season with salt and pepper, to taste. Bring to a boil.
  • Stir in tortellini; reduce heat and simmer until tortellini is cooked through, about 5-6 minutes. 
  • Stir in heavy cream and Parmesan until well combined. Add in spinach and stir just until wilted, about 2-3 minutes. 
  • Garnish with croutons, if desired. 

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