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This makes 6 large servings or 8 small servings
1/2 pound Italian sausage
1 clove garlic, finely minced
1/2 cup onions, diced
1/2 cup celery, diced
1/2 cup carrots, diced
1 can Italian-style stewed tomatoes, pulsed a couple of times in a food processor
2 teaspoons beef base, dissolved in 2 cups boiling water
1 quart good beef broth
16-ounce package prepared cheese tortellini
10-ounce package spinach, rinsed and chopped
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
Brown sausage until no longer pink, drain and reserve grease. Cook the garlic, onion, celery and carrots in 2 tablespoons of reserved grease for 3 to 4 minutes.
Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Combine tortellini and spinach and add to pot; bring to a boil. Reduce heat slightly and boil for 7 minutes.
While the tortellini and spinach are cooking, using a large soup pot, add the beef-base mixture, beef broth, cooked vegetables, sausage and tomatoes. Bring to a boil and then simmer. Add the tortellini and spinach when done and simmer 5 minutes to incorporate flavors.
Serve soup piping hot, topped with garlic croutons and Parmesan cheese.
Diane Lindberg, Andover