This soup has been a favorite for years. It has actually become one my go-to soups for sick days, because you can only have so much chicken noodle...and it's quick enough that even if you are the one that is sick, it's not a lot of work. It goes beyond the benefits of chicken broth and adds much more nutrient dense foods like tomatoes and spinach...and garlic, enough garlic to keep away vampires, let alone a bacteria. I met a woman once that told me she swallows a whole garlic clove every day to prevent sickness. Ack! I don't know how much I believe her. If so, she must have the largest throat capacity to handle that! I think I would gag on the first one and never go back. I'd much rather have this soup.. Since my husband and I have both been battling a nasty cold/virus for the last week or more, it definitely made it on my menu this week.
Start out by sauteing the garlic in the oil. I know some of you may shy away from the quantity of garlic (I admit, I cut down on it the first few times making it) but don't skimp on it, especially if you have little baby sized garlic cloves. I promise it won't be overwhelming. Garlic has a fantastic quality of mellowing out as it is cooked, leaving you with a warm, tangy-sweet yumminess, not the kind of potent, sharp taste that raw garlic has. After about a minute, before it starts turning brown, add the chicken broth and bring to a boil.
Add in your tortellini. Now I typically use frozen kind, because it is considerably cheaper, but when your grocery store decides to stop carrying it then you will be stuck buying the fresh kind, like me. Both are just as tasty. Once they are mostly cooked (about 5 minutes or 3/4 the time the package directions call for), add in the tomatoes and herbs with their juice and cook for several more minutes.
Add in the spinach. Do not use canned or frozen, do not skimp on the quantity, and do NOT add in until just ready to serve (do not pass go, do not collect $200, etc). The point of adding it in right before eating is to just wilt it in the hot soup. Cook it any longer and it will get bitter tasting. It wilts down a lot so put in way more than you think and it will end up being just right.
1 TBSP olive oil
5 big garlic cloves (more if they are small), minced
1 quart chicken broth
1 14 oz can of diced tomatoes with juice
4-5 oz of cheese tortellini (about 1 cup)
giant handful of fresh baby spinach (roughly chop if using larger leaves)
1/2 tsp basil
1/2 tsp oregano
3-4 turns of ground black pepper
fresh parmesan shavings (optional)
Saute garlic in oil for 1 minute. Add broth and bring to a boil. Cook tortellini in broth about 5 minutes until mostly soft, then add in tomatoes and herbs and bring back to a boil for 1-2 more minutes. Right before serving, stir in the spinach and finish with pepper and parmesan.
Serves about 4