It’s like a sweater for your stomach.

Well, we’re back to March again. It was beautiful on Thursday and I went to work without a coat, but by Friday, it was pretty chilly again, and today I was happy to have my mittens at tour guiding. It’s an aggravating time of year. But yesterday seemed like the perfect day to make the tortellini soup I’d seen on someone’s Pinterest.

I was doomed from the start. I failed to notice that it was a crock pot recipe, and since it was already 4:45, that was out. I didn’t have any white sauce mix because I never do. I know how to make white sauce. Thought I’d improvise those parts of the recipe, but after reading it three times, I couldn’t figure out which parts were about the white sauce mix and which parts weren’t, and finally thought, the hell with this; I can make it up. Which I did. I adapted a little from a recipe for potato-spinach soup from my trusty 1963 Pillsbury Family Cookbook, but mostly for proportions (potatoes have a much longer cooking time). This is better, though. The other was needlessly complicated and had too many packaged ingredients. This can be made either 100% fresh or 100% packaged or anywhere in between, depending on your timeframe and pantry.

Creamy Tortellini-Spinach Soup

1/4 cup butter
1/2 cup diced white or yellow onion
1 clove garlic, minced
1 stalk celery, with leaves, chopped.
1/4 cup flour
3 cups water
1 tsp salt
2 cups tortellini (I used Buittoni bi-color cheese tortellini; other flavors would be good)
2 cups whole milk or cream
1 cup shredded Parmesan or heel of a wedge in one piece
1 cup frozen leaf-style spinach (or fresh; if fresh, add last and cook little)
1 small can or 1 cup sliced fresh white mushrooms
Pepper to taste

Serves 6 as a soup course or 3-4 as a meal.

Heat butter over medium in soup pot. When hot, add onions, garlic, and celery, and saute until tender but not browned. Stir in flour and cook for 1 minute. Add water, salt, and tortellini. Bring to a boil and cook for 5 minutes or until tortellini are done (frozen or dried may need different cooking time; follow package instructions but undercook just slightly at this stage). Reduce heat to medium. Add milk, cheese, spinach, and mushrooms. Simmer until flavors are melded and adjust seasonings. Cover if holding. Serve garnished with more parmesan and a little fresh spinach, if you have.

This would also be great made with asparagus instead of spinach. Or with sausage tortellini, or mushroom.

It’s a really hearty soup. My husband and I agreed that it almost hurt to have more than one bowl, but it was just that good.

Today between tours, I knitted on my Hudson’s Bay blanket. The colors looked too loud when I got the package, but now they’re working up into a just-right blanket, very true to the original. One of the visitors recognized it right away. Lucky boy, they said, when I said it was for my son. I agree. If he ditches it, I’m taking it back. I love it.

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10 thoughts on “It’s like a sweater for your stomach.

  1. Oh wow that looks good! I’m glad you streamlined it for non-crockpot cooks like me!

    And definitely reclaim the blanket! I love love love my smushy garter-stitch blanket. If he does love it too, there’s a Hudson Bay blanket-inspired shawl on Ravelry, or you could easily adapt a garter-stitch sweater to have the same stripe pattern (there’s an idea…hmmmmmmm).

    • You know, there’s really no need to make this in a crockpot. Soups go together so quickly. That recipe used dried tortellini, and I suppose that would take longer, but still–eight or ten minutes at a rapid boil isn’t the kind of thing that would make me go running for the crockpot. I rarely have it enough together to plan that far ahead, for one thing, and I’d have to go fetch my crockpot, for another. It’s all so needless. Once you add the milk, you’re all but done, and a crockpot doesn’t save you tedious chopping of onions.

      I saw people on the Purl Soho website asking how to adapt it for a full-sized blanket! At that rate, I might as well buy one; they cost $370 for a full. Going to cost that much in yarn anyhow, even for a workhorse wool like Cascade 220. I’m loving how squishy it is already. Just past the first yellow stripe now.

      • Yeah, at the price of wool, not to mention one’s sanity (I like straight knitting but even so that’s a LOT), I’d just go for the read deal too.

        I really do want a crockpot, but I always assumed it was for cooking things like dried beans and cuts of meat that have lots of collagen in them, or for keeping cheese dip warm at a party. Not for replacing a normal pot and heat source! I think that sort of thing is what happens when the convenience products in one’s life begin to cause hassle 🙂

        • Exactly. I don’t have mine out all the time, so I have to fetch it from the basement, and that’s just a pain. It reminds me a little of the 1920s objection to Berlin woolwork–not the stylized florals that were used for slippers and handbags, but the portraits that were so popular. The 1920s critics said that it was the wrong medium for the ultimate product (the right medium would have been painting). The argument is flawed in a number of ways, but I’m inclined to think that even though it gets the job done, the crockpot isn’t the right tool for a lot of the jobs it’s called upon to do.

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