It’s spring where I am. I don’t know if you can interpret the enthusiasm behind that statement, but this winter was long, in every sense of the word. So, when I say it’s spring where I am, picture me clapping or dancing or weeping tears of joy. This is the view from my office window right now. Please notice the blossoms on the trees and the green grass. Even all overcast and rainy, this scene puts a stupid-smile on my face.
Since I know for many of you winter is still very much alive and well (Kelly? Terri? Margayla? The entire city of Toledo?). And that is why I thought it appropriate to squeeze in one more yummy soup recipe before winter is gone for good for everyone. If you are in the mood for a quick and easy semi-home made soup that both family-friendly and also hearty enough to stand alone as dinner, then this soup is perfect for you.
Before we begin, I have to ask: Is this YOUR handwriting?
I have a vague memory of maybe standing in someone’s kitchen whilst they attempted to describe this soup to me, and then me saying something like, “Write it down, because I’ll never remember!” And then maybe that someone jotting down the details while I watched over her shoulder and asked questions like, “Do I boil it here?” and “How much spinach did you use?” And then her making copies and handing them to whomever else was in the room.
Does that ring a bell, anyone?
(In my defense, I’m fairy certain this was years ago.)
(Or quite possibly, last week.)
Well, if that was you, and this is YOUR recipe, I am eager to give you credit. Because it is delicious.
(Updated: My friend Angela says this is her handwriting. So, yay, mystery solved. Also, I’ve altered the recipe some, so it’s no longer “Angela’s” but “Angela’s and Sandy’s.”)
Hearty Tuscan Soup
- Stock Pot or Dutch Oven
- Cutting Board
- 1 Tbs Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 1 Medium-Large Onion Small to medium dice
- 28 oz Vegetable Broth Or more to taste
- 28 oz Canned tomatoes Crushed or diced, plain or Italian style
- 1 package Cheese tortellini or potato perogi Fresh or frozen. Oh, BTW, did you know I'm Polish? Perogi is also Polish--but I've never personally prepared it or served it. I use cheese tortellini here. Also, I sometimes double the packages because my kids love tortellini. You can also use homemade here, but that would no longer make this recipe "quick" or "easy."
- 1 15 oz can Red kidney beans Rinsed and drained. You can also use dry beans and cook them separately. That's what I will do today because I want to use the kidney beans again later this week in another recipe.
- 4 cups Fresh baby spinach Chopped
- 1-2 tsps Italian Seasoning Fresh herbs would be lovely as well. If you have fresh basil, parsley, oregano, rosemary, and thyme, then use them instead! Chop them up and add the rosemary and thyme earlier since they are hardier herbs and need more time to soften and incorporate into the dish. (see instructions)
- to taste Salt and Pepper
- Grated Parmesean Cheese Optional
- Heat the olive oil in a large stock pot or dutch oven over medium-high heat.
- Add onion and dash of salt, then lower heat to medium. Saute until the onions are soft--about 5 minutes. Enjoy this moment, because the scent of onions sauteed in olive oil is one of the best things in life.
- If using dried seasonings, add them now. If using fresh, only add the rosemary and thyme. Stir for a minute or so until fragrant.
- Add the vegetable broth and canned tomatoes and bring to a boil. Add another dash of salt here too.
- Add the tortellini/perogi and bring back to a boil. Simmer for about 4 minutes (a minute or two longer if you are using frozen).
- Add beans, spinach, and the basil, parsley, and oregano (if using fresh herbs) and stir until fully incorported and heated through (1-2 min).
- Taste and add salt and pepper, if needed.
- Ladle into bowls and sprinkle with optional parmesean cheese or garnish with fresh basil. For an extra burst of flavor, squeeze some fresh lemon over the bowls just before adding the parmesean cheese or instead of the parmesean cheese.
Yes, she’s eating it with a fork. Reminds me of those old Campbell’s Chunky Soup commercials, “It’s the soup that eats like a meal.”