One of the other comforting meals I made last week (see my entry on Beef Empanadas) also came from my new America’s Test Kitchen recipe booklet: It was a sausage and tortellini soup.
I wasn’t expecting the soup to have much flavor, but after I tasted it my eyes grew wide. This soup is bursting with a rich, meaty flavor from the Italian sausage and the cheese tortellini. The soup looks and tastes as if it was made with rendered bacon fat and a Parmesan cheese rind. It also tastes as though it had simmered for hours. In fact, I don’t think it took much more than 30 minutes to cook. I highly recommend this recipe.
Sausage and Tortellini Soup with Spinach
1 Tbsp olive oil (I omitted the olive oil; the soup gets enough fat from the sausage)
1 lb. sweet or hot Italian sausage
1 onion, chopped fine
2 cloves of garlic, minced
6 cubs low-sodium chicken broth
1 bay leaf
1 (9 oz.) package fresh cheese tortellini
3 C baby spinach
salt & pepper
1. Heat oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat until just smoking (I omitted this step). Cook sausages, rolling occasionally, until browned all over, about 10 minutes. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate and pour off all but 1 Tbsp fat from pot. (I didn’t bother to pour off the extra fat.)
2. Cook onion in sausage fat until softened, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add broth and bay leaf, scraping up any browned bits, and bring to a boil.
3. Cut browned sausages into 1/2-inch rounds and add to pot. Stir in tortellini and simmer over medium heat until tender, 6 to 8 minutes. Stir in spinach until just wilted, about a minute. Season with salt and pepper. Discard bay leaf. Serve.