When I'm traveling, not many desserts get made, since desserts usually require ingredients and tools beyond the scope of the rental flats that I've been living out of for the past few weeks. --Plus, given how much gelato I've been eating, I really don't feel the need to add more sugar and cream to my diet! On the other hand, though, I do get the opportunity to do a fair amount of normal cooking. Since the pace of life is so much more leisurely, I actually find myself not rushing to scrape a meal together (or worse yet, heating up something from the Trader Joe's freezer section while feeling sheepishly guilty that I'm taking the time to eat and not work, as I normally do while at home), and I have the time to spend in the kitchen, stirring together an easy but delicious and piping hot pot of soup from fresh market ingredients, like this spinach, tomato, and tortellini soup I made while in Rome.
[click on photo for a larger image]
The soup was perfectly tomato-y and brothy for the sunny but cold, wool-scarf-needed, wintery days when I was there, and I slurped it happily while sitting by a third-story window overlooking the winding, narrow Trastevere alleyways below and reading a good book (this and this were amongst my favorites that I read on this trip). Ah, the slow life.
Thank you so, so much to those of you who wrote in with wonderful suggestions for my Italy trip! I just got back a few nights ago, so I'm still in the post-trip whirlwind of sorting through photos and catching up with all of the life and work that I've missed for the past few months of traveling. Much more to come in the next few weeks on the blog, as well as getting back to regular dessert posts!
Read on for recipe....
Spinach, Tomato, and Tortellini Soup
makes enough for 4
4 small cioppino onions, chopped
5 cloves of garlic, smashed
6 ripe medium-sized tomatoes, chopped
10 - 12 cups chicken stock
1 package of ricotta and spinach tortellini
6 cups fresh spinach leaves
1. In a pot, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat.
2. Add the chopped onions and a very small sprinkling of salt. Saute the onions. When they begin to turn translucent, add the garlic and cook until the onions are very soft, almost caramelizing.
3. Add the tomatoes and cook for a minute or two, until the tomatoes are soft and release their juices.
4. Add the chicken stock. If the broth is too thick, adjust with hot water. Increase the heat and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 10 - 15 minutes. Season with salt, if necessary.
5. Increase the heat and return the soup to a boil. Add the tortellini and cook for as long as directed on the package, until the tortellini are al dente.
6. Turn off the heat and add the spinach, stirring until the spinach is cooked but still vibrant green. Serve hot immediately, with crusty bread.
Note: ingredient amounts for savory recipes like this one on this blog are approximate. Please use your judgement and tastes regarding salt and flavoring amounts.