I am always in awe of how my mother seems to say, "I'm going to make soup tonight!" and then does it. It just magically happens! I see her buy the ingredients, or pick out the leftovers, and I see her cooking things, but I don't fully understand how she combines all the flavors in such a skillful, non-recipe-following way. Soups are a hard thing to make, so I have full respect for my mother, the Soup Master.
Last night, I attempted my own soup. I keep seeing this pin for creamy tortellini soup on Pinterest, but that recipe uses a slow-cooker and a flavoring packet as its base. First, I don't have a slow cooker. If I did, the world would be in trouble, because I would be slow cooking everything in sight. You can make bread in a slow cooker! I need to get one someday, but that day is not today. I need to have a life for a few years before I fully devolve into slow cooker spinsterhood, cooking by myself, all day every day. Second, I don't like the idea of using a packet as a base for a soup - that stuff isn't real, it's just dried up chemicals that have been made to taste good, and I'm pretty sure it's going to give everyone cancer. There have been studies! There's science! I'm just saying.
The original recipe uses spinach but I am obsessed with kale and I figured putting it in a soup would be a good way to soften it up (since kale is normally so stiff and bitter when raw.) I also got half and half instead of regular cream, to pretend this was a healthy soup, and only used one packet of tortellini. I am in love with cheese, so I could have added more, but I held back. Good for me.
First, I chopped up about half of a white onion and sauteed it in some olive oil to soften it up and make it taste sweeter for adding to the soup. When that was done, I took it off the hot burner and set it aside until later.
I put two cartons (gallons? pints? quarts? I think those cardboard boxes of broth are quarts. I think.) of vegetable stock in a soup pot. I thought there wasn't enough liquid, so I added about two cups of water. I would later find this to be a mistake, but... live and learn.
If I'm giving you the real picture of what last night looked like, here it is - I added the whole pint of half and half (told you this wasn't that healthy!), added the kale to cook down for a while, and added my spices (salt, pepper, garlic powder, and red chili pepper flakes.) Then I added the tortellini and cooked it in the broth so it would absorb the flavors and maybe absorb some of the extra liquid, since I wanted this to be thick and creamy like on the Pinterest image.
When that didn't look like it was working, I called my mom. I admit it. She instructed me to take out the tortellini so they didn't fall apart (seen above), and then boil down the rest of the cream/stock combination until it got to a thicker consistency.
This is what that looks like!
I added the tortellini back in, and added two cans of cannellini beans from the pantry for extra protein and to make it more like a tortellini stew. I also added a decent amount of parmesan to really make it cheesy.
You guys, it worked. I am so proud of myself! I know I'm probably not supposed to brag, but this is my blog, so I'm bragging. It turned out as creamy as I wanted it, as cheesy as I wanted it, and the chili flakes added an extra kick that made my eyes water. Thank god I made enough for two days worth of leftovers. The only change I'd make is to pick better tortellini next time - using basil and parmesan pasta in a soup that already has other flavors and kale was kind of weird. I'd want the pasta to have a less flavorful flavor so everything else can shine through!
Listen to me, talking about flavors shining through. Ugh. I'm going to go eat more soup now, don't listen to me any longer. But, go make it yourself! I promise you won't regret it. Unless you don't like cheesy or spicy things, then you're a bit out of luck.
xo // Madeleine