I was looking through Sara Moulton’s recipe book, Sara’s Secrets for Weeknight meals, when I found this recipe that sounded quick, easy, and generally family-friendly:
TORTELLINI PEPPERONI SPINACH SOUP
24 slices pepperoni
1 medium onion, chopped
One 48-ounce can chicken broth or 6 cups chicken stock
One 9-ounce package refrigerated three-cheese tortellini
One 5-ounce package rinsed baby spinach
Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, optional
Freshly milled black pepper, optional
Heat the pepperoni in a heavy 3-quart or larger saucepan over medium-high heat until it releases a little fat. Reduce heat to medium; add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes.
Add the broth and tortellini; cook until tender. Stir in the spinach; cook just until it is wilted; serve with Parmigiano-Reggiano and pepper, if desired.
As usual, I made a few ingredient substitutions: That’s Parmesan cheese there, because I don’t shop specialty shops (or even know where to find them, because I haven’t looked) and the formal, fancy sounding “Parmigiano-Reggiano” is not something I’ve ever seen at my local grocery store. Not even in the case of specialty cheeses near the deli. And my package of baby spinach said 6-ounces, not 5. I used the entire package, because what would I use the remaining ounce of spinach for? I know I could add it to a salad or put it on a sandwich, but would I? I know myself well. It would sit in the vegetable bin (which my husband once affectionately re-named “the rottener”) until it got yucky and I had to throw it out. So into the soup it went 🙂 And there’s my usual (gasp!) chicken bouillon instead of a can of broth or freshly made stock. (Hey, I’m a stay-at-home mom with four children. I have to pick and choose how to spend my money and my time . . .)
This recipe came together quite quickly and easily, and a couple of loaves of bread (bought from the bakery – heat and eat) completed the meal nicely. My husband had 2 helpings, my oldest son enjoyed his serving of just tortellini and pepperoni, my 2nd oldest son enjoyed three helpings of just tortellini in broth, and my daughter had some spinach and pepperoni. As for Mr. Super Extremely Picky, he didn’t even try the soup. Or the bread. Silly guy 😛
I suppose it’s just as well that son #3 didn’t want any soup, because there were no leftovers. For my family, the next time I make this I will double the tortellini and the pepperoni and leave the rest of the ingredients the same. Well, I’ll have to decide whether I need more broth to cook the tortellini, but I’ll figure that out when the time comes for me to return to this soup recipe.