Guys, I love winter- I do! I adore the cold, crisp weather. I like walking on the sidewalks on campus when I’m headed into work and the sun hasn’t risen yet. I like the way that people are a bit more orderly in the winter, because everyone just wants to get where they’re going in as efficient a way as possible. I like the snow, and driving in the snow, and snow in my hair, and snow covering my car. Also, I like seeing Howie in jim jams- that’s a serious winter highlight.
There are some days, though, that really take it out of you in a way that doesn’t seem to happen so much in the winter. Days when the weather is weird and drizzly and just gross. Days when it never really gets light, and the sun doesn’t even try to peek through the fog, and that’s a little depressing. Days when everyone is a little snappy because no one is enjoying the day so everything kind of sucks.
Not to be Susie Sunshine, but I actually like those days, too! Because those are the days that call for going home, pouring a glass of wine, and making a huge pot of soup. I don’t know about you, but for my house, the restorative power of soup is insane.
Today I’m bringing a recipe for tortellini soup. There are quite a few ingredients, but it comes together really easily and could be on the table in about 40 minutes. Like many of my recipes, this one is endlessly customizable- change the veggies to whatever you have on hand or eliminate the meat if you want to go veggie. I sometimes get a little squicky about beef broth, depending on where I’m shopping, so I’ve been known to swap it out for chicken or mushroom. Every version I’ve made of this has been great and, as a bonus, freezes really well. Next time you’re struggling through a gross day and need some comfort, think about making this Sausage Tortellini Soup- it will turn your day around, I promise!
Sausage Tortellini Soup
1 small zucchini
4 plum tomatoes
2 stalks celery
2 cups kale
1 pound bulk Italian sausage (or links with the casings removed)
2 cloves garlic
1/2 cup red wine
1 tsp basil, dried
1/2 tbsp. oregano, dried
1 tbsp. parsley, dried
1 can cannellini beans
8 oz can tomato sauce
5 cups beef stock
I package fresh or frozen tortellini or mini ravioli
Freshly shredded parm
Prep the veggies: slice the zucchini in half length wise, and slice in 1/4 inch slices; dice the bell pepper into 1/4″ pieces and seed and dice the tomatoes; peel and dice the carrots, and dice the celery. Set all of the previous ingredients aside. Rinse and slice the kale into pretty thin strips, and place in a separate bowl. Dice the onion and grate or mince the garlic, and set these separately of the other ingredients.
Cook the sausage (if you’re using sausage) and veggies: Heat your soup pot to medium high heat (I like to used enamel coated cast iron dutch ovens) and add the sausage. Break apart with a fork or a wooden spoon, and cook until slightly browned, then drain off any excess fat. Add the onion and garlic, and cook for three to five minutes, or until the onion starts to become translucent. Add the wine to the pot to deglaze, and use a wooden spoon to start to push up the browned bit of sausage that are stuck to the bottom. Once the wine has mostly been absorbed, and the zucchini, pepper, tomatoes, carrots and celery. Cook the veggies for another 4-5 minutes, or until they start to soften and take on a bit of color.
Finish the soup: Stir in the basil, oregano and parsley, and cook for a minute. While that cooks, drain and rinse the beans, then add them to the pan. Stir in the tomato sauce and stock/broth and bring to a boil. Add the tortellini and cook in the soup, according to the pasta instructions. When the tortellini is cooked, turn off the heat and stir in the kale. Let the kale soften for a few minutes, then ladle into bowls and top with shredded parm. Serve with a hunk of crusty bread, and this is the perfect winter evening meal…with plenty left for the week’s lunch. Enjoy!