Thursday, April 16, 2015

Creamy Tomato Parmesan and Spinach Tortellini Soup with Grilled Cheese

April is Grilled Cheese Month? Creamy Tomato Parmesan and Spinach Tortellini Soup elevates the classic sandwich to a whole new level.  This stellar lunch/dinner will have you screaming for seconds. It's that good.

Creamy Parmesan Tomato and Spinach Tortellini Soup
Cook's notes: A creamy tomato soup with cheese tortellini, spinach and plenty of Parmesan cheese that is pure comfort food on a chilly spring day. It's packed with flavor and is ready in 30 minutes.  And it all can be made in a skillet with deep sides. Recipe adapted from

  • 2 TB. olive oil
  • 1 cup sweet onions, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • sprinkle red pepper flakes to taste (optional)
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 4 cups vegetable broth or chicken broth
  • 2 (14.5 oz. ) cans diced tomatoes-oregano and basil 
  • 2 TB. tomato paste
  • 1/4 tsp. sugar
  • 1/4 tsp. each basil and parsley flakes
  • 1- 8 oz. package cheese tortellini (found in the dairy section)
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • several handfuls of torn spinach leaves. stems removed 
  • 1/4 cup heavy/whipping cream or Greek yogurt
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup basil, chopped (optional)

  • Heat oil in skillet over medium heat, add the onions and garlic, cook until tender, about 4 minutes. Add in red pepper flakes and cook until fragrant, about a minute.
  • Add flour to skillet and cook for another minute.
  • Add in broth, canned tomatoes with juices, tomato paste, sugar and spices. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer 5 minutes. Puree 1/2 -3/4 of the mixture in a food processor or blender. Return to skillet adding to rest of diced tomatoes. Add in tortellini and cook on medium low heat until al dente about 6-8 minutes. 
  • Whisk in Parmesan cheese, torn spinach leaves and cream. Season with salt and pepper. Cook on low until spinach leaves wilted and mixture is heated through.  
  • Option-Top soup with fresh basil to serve 
  • Option-Adding in 2 cups of cooked and shredded chicken or 8 ounces of cooked Italian sausage to make it even heartier.
Cooking Tips from
The Art of a Perfect Grilled Cheese Must...
  • be a closed sandwich, griddled on both sides.
  • have cheese as the primary ingredient. Other ingredients can complement the cheese, but none may overwhelm it.
  • be made with sliced bread. 
  • be served hot all the way through, with the cheese thoroughly melted.
  • be cooked on a flat, greased surface until golden brown. In extreme circumstances it may be cooked on an outdoor grill over an open fire. 
  • A grilled cheese may never be baked or deep-fried.
here is a link to 10 varieties of grilled cheese sandwiches  
Cook's notes: For this meal I went with a more traditional sandwich to pair with the creamy tomato Parmesan cheese soup.
Grilled Cheese:The Rachel Sandwich (aka Roast Turkey Reuben Sandwich)
A twist on the classic Reuben sandwich with roast turkey, creamy coleslaw or sauerkraut, tangy Russian dressing and Swiss cheese on seven grain though rye bread is the traditional choice. The following ingredients made 1 sandwich. Recipe from
1 TB. butter, room temperature
2 slices rye or seven grain,
1/2 cup swiss cheese, shredded and at room temperature
1-2 slices deli roast turkey
1/4 cup coleslaw or sauerkraut, squeezed, drained and coarsely chopped
1 tablespoon Russsian dressing or Thousand Islands dressing

Ralph Fletcher is a master of metaphor, ace of alliteration, and prince of poetric expression. He is an American writer of children's pictures book, young adult fiction and poetry. Fletcher is also an educational consultant, and author of books for both children and professional educators on the craft of writing. I have had the privilege of hearing him speak at several conferences. 
His books on how to effectively use a writer's notebook are inspirational. This is one of my favorite Ralph Fletcher quotes..."I have often been asked how to become a better writer. I always say, go out and live the most exciting life you can, and never quit writing about it. Don't mix up the order."
Love poem writing:
by Ralph Fletcher
Time to leave my desk
and leave the house,
pulling the door behind.

I walk the way I write
starting out all creaky,
sort of stumbling along,
looking for a rhythm.

Each footstep is like a word
as it meets the blank page
followed by a pause
before the next one:
step, step, word...

This little gem of a book "Ordinary Things Poems from a Walk in Early Spring " is written for the young poet. Thirty-three poems reveal the extraordinary in the ordinary things found during a walk to and through the woods, and offer glimpses into how observation of the everyday fuels a young poet's creativity. Clotheslines, stone walls, streams, birches, leaves -- even a Volkswagen Beetle -- shine in a different light when seen through the poet's lens.

1 comment:

  1. The soup sounds delicious and so does the poetry. Can poetry be delicious?