Tortellini en Brodo


Let me start out by apologizing that there is nothing related to foods associated with Thanksgiving, be they traditional or modern on this blog.  The thing is, it kind of snuck up on me this year.  Like Christmas, I blinked and it's here.  For Thanksgiving day, I do plan to make about three or four recipes, but likely won't post them until next year, because who wants to know about Thanksgiving foods after the fact?  So for today, I'll tell you that I plan to make homemade yeast rolls and biscuits, pumpkin butter, and a pumpkin cheesecake with a gingersnap crust. 

For today, I hope you soon try out and enjoy this tortellini en brodo.  It's a traditional Italian dish, and there are recipes with variations that add other ingredients or specify the tortellini, but at the core, this is chicken broth or stock, tortellini, and spinach.  This recipe is so simple it's almost shameful to post, but it's so good that it's worth it.

Because of its simplicity, you want to make sure you're using good quality chicken broth or stock and tortellini.  This is where the singular ingredients have a chance to shine, and where sub par ingredients will decrease your enjoyment. 

So, first you start out by boiling tortellini in chicken broth.  I followed Rachael Ray's recipe (say that three times fast) as a guide, but found that I needed a lot more broth than she called for. 

Once the tortellini is cooked, you add in the spinach and allow it to wilt.  Once it's wilted you add a dash of nutmeg and some ground black pepper and that's it. 

Spinach before

Spinach after

The soup is fairly hearty with just the spinach, tortellini, and broth, but if you want to increase its heartiness, then add some cooked and crumbled ground meat (recommended beef or italian sausage) or cooked, sliced chicken or steak.  Try beans.  I didn't, but you can.  The taste is so comforting, and I imagine it's fairly healthy, depending on the tortellini's fat and calorie content.  Oh, and did I mention it has parmesan cheese?

Tortellini en Brodo
2 quarts chicken broth or stock, preferably homemade
1- 9 oz. package fresh tortellini
8 oz. fresh spinach, stems removed and roughly chopped
Dash Nutmeg (freshly grated recommended)
A few grinds fresh black pepper
1/4 c. hard Italian cheese of your choice, grated (parmesan, asiago, romano, parmigiano reggiano, Grana)

In a medium to large pot, heat the broth to boiling over medium high heat.  Meanwhile, make sure your spinach is chopped.  Add the tortellini and let the broth return to a boil.  Reduce the heat and let simmer for 10 minutes.  Add in the spinach and stir until wilted.  Add the spices. 

Serve with grated cheese.  Also good with crusty bread. 

Cook's Notes
  • Chopping the spinach is really important, lest you end up with clumps of inseparable spinach.  I learned that the hard way
  • The tortellini absorb quite a bit of stock/broth, so you may want extra on hand in case you like your soup more liquidy.  If you like it thicker, than it might be perfect for you. 

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