With the exception of the stewed tomatoes, there are a lot of my favorite things in this soup. Mushrooms, spinach, basil, cheese tortellini... yes, please! And, as much of a fan that I'm not, the tomatoes add so much flavor to the soup that I definitely wouldn't leave them out.
I love the addition of the red pepper flakes. I love it so much that I doubled the amount. Spicy? Yes. A good decision? Absolutely.
The bright color that the spinach and basil add is great. Don't be afraid to bump up the amount of them either. I did.
Freshly grated Parm is a must and, you know me, soup is always better with warm, crusty bread along side.
Tortellini, Spinach and Basil Soup
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
2 large garlic cloves, minced
8 ounces fresh mushrooms, cleaned and sliced
1/4 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper flakes
3 (15 ounce) cans chicken stock
1 (15 ounce) can stewed Italian-style tomatoes, undrained
1 (9 ounce) package cheese tortellini (fresh or frozen)
1 to 2 cups thinly sliced fresh spinach leaves
2 tablespoons thinly sliced fresh basil (or 1 1/2 teaspoons dried basil)
salt and freshly ground black pepper
garnish: freshly shredded Parmesan cheese
In a large heavy pan over medium heat, heat oil. Add onion, garlic and mushrooms. Saute until vegetables are tender, about 5 minutes. Add crushed red pepper and saute for a few seconds until fragrant. Add chicken stock and tomatoes; bring to a boil. Add tortellini then return to a low boil and cook 5 minutes or until pasta is done. Stir in spinach, and cook 1 to 2 minutes, then add fresh basil and simmer for a minute or two. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Ladle soup into bowls, garnish with freshly shredded Parmesan cheese.
Variation: It is nice to add 3/4 pound of Italian sausage, casings removed, crumbled, browned and drained. Add to the soup when adding the vegetables.
This is one tasty soup! And quick and easy, to boot! I don't have much to note - just follow the directions and you'll be enjoying it in no time!