Remember, the recipe is at the end. :)
This soup was inspired by Pinterest, and developed in my kitchen using real ingredients. Except for the tortellini. I didn't want to spend an entire day making them just to dump them in soup (even though this soup is particularly awesome). I bought the healthiest tortellini I could and didn't worry about it.
Assemble and set out all your ingredients.
Garlic from my freezer with my Pampered Chef garlic press.
The original recipe (found on Pinterest) called for the soup to be made in the slow cooker, but it also called for a package of white sauce mix--something I've never bought and figured I wouldn't buy now just for this. It's pretty easy to make a white sauce (a roux) from scratch (butter + flour + salt + milk), so that's what I did and this became a stovetop recipe. It takes me about 30-40 minutes from start to finish--not bad for a from-scratch recipe!
I use water and this instead of chicken broth (unless I have some homemade).
Don't be alarmed by the amount of butter (one stick total). This is family size. My family consists of hubby and me, and four big strapping young men. If you won't eat this much, halve the recipe! Because of the roux, it won't freeze well; however, the leftovers are simply divine. Yes, even our family has leftovers (well, it was one nice big bowl, anyway).
Simmering the tortellini.
The spinach gets to wilt in the hot soup.
As I experimented, I wrote everything down in notes all over the typed-out recipe, with lines, boxes, circles, and arrows, then finally put it all together in readable format. Now you get the benefit of my scribbles!
These pictures feature dried tortellini; the fresh refrigerated tortellini is even yummier!
Family Size Tortellini & Spinach Soup
Yield: 12 bowls of soup (about two large ladles' worth)
2 tablespoons butter
1 cup chopped onion
6 cloves garlic, minced
3 cups sliced fresh mushrooms (can omit if you're not into 'shrooms)
6 cups water
4 cups chicken broth (I use water + chicken soup base)
1 teaspoon dried crushed basil (or the fresh equivalent--just plop some in!)
1 teaspoon dried crushed oregano
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
16-oz. package dried or fresh cheese tortellini (main pic shows fresh, others show dried)
6 cups fresh baby spinach leaves, roughly chopped
freshly ground black pepper
fresh Parmesan cheese
For the roux:
6 tablespoons butter
6 tablespoons flour
3/4 teaspoon salt
3 cups milk
In a six-quart saucepan, saute onion and garlic in the two tablespoons butter until soft. Add mushrooms and saute a few minutes more. Add the water, chicken broth, basil, oregano, salt and cayenne pepper. Bring to a boil and add tortellini. Simmer about 15 minutes or until tortellini is tender (our tortellini is done in under ten minutes--read the package to estimate the time).
Meanwhile, prepare the roux: In a separate saucepan, melt the six tablespoons butter. Add the flour and salt, stirring until bubbly. Pour in the milk and stir frequently, cooking until mixture is thickened and bubbly.
When tortellini is fully cooked, add the roux to the soup, then stir in the spinach. Let sit for 3-4 minutes until spinach is wilted and soft (doesn't need to be on the heat for this). If desired, sprinkle individual servings with black pepper and Parmesan cheese.
Each bowl of soup is about 240 calories, fyi. :)
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