Practically Speaking

Kyle and her husband moved to Brookfield in 1986. She became active in local politics and started blogging in 2004. Her focus is primarily on local issues but often includes state and national topics, too. Kyle looks at things from the taxpayers' perspective in a creative, yet down to earth way, addressing them from a practical point of view.

Tomato Tortellini Florentine Soup: Spinach soup even kids like!

Good food / recipes, Living well on less $

This tasty soup concept came from New Orleans via a friend. While visiting relatives there several years ago she was served this delicious soup. Being the great cook she is, she had to recreate it upon returning home. Fortunate me, she shared her recipe. Yum! I make it several times a year.

Whenever I cook soup, I make about 3 to 4 times the amount I need and then freeze the rest. That way, I always have a supply of homemade soup on hand.


This recipe is for a large pot full. I would guess it makes about 6 quarts. (The stock pot pictured is my smaller 10 quart size.) This soup is meatless, so I believe it would be OK for those observing Lent.


Ingredients & Proceedure

1 large onion, chopped

3-6 cloves of garlic, minced

1/4 Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil

1 large green or red bell pepper, cut into 1/2" or so dice (This is optional, and was not in the orig New Orleans version.)

Gently saute the above until translucent and peppers are soft



2 small cans of tomato sauce

4 - 6 cans of stewed tomatoes, chop up a bit

1 - 2 teaspoons salt

freshly ground pepper to taste

2 Tablespoons dried basil, or more (fresh would be great too)

2 Tablespoons dried parsley (fresh great)

~2 quarts water

1 Tablespoon brown sugar

Simmer for at least an hour



1 1/2 pounds of frozen chopped spinach

Simmer for about another 1/2 hour


ADD about 15 minutes before serving

2*,  9oz. packages of FRESH tortellini, I like 3 cheese  (I like the fresh. The dried tortellini always tastes rancid to me.)

1/2 Cup freshly grated Parmesan or Asiago, Fontinella type cheese

Serve with extra cheese grated on top.

Team with a big salad and warmed crusty bread and dinner is served!


Helpful hints and cost estimates

If you are not going to use all of the soup at one meal, DO NOT put all the tortellini in. The soup freezes well, but not the pasta. I get around this problem by immersing a strainer into the soup pot and cooking the tortellini in the soup broth, but keeping it separated. You could also remove the portion you don't think you will be immediately using from the pot and then cook the tortillini directly in the kettle. You do not need to use all the tortellini in the package. Just use what you want and bag the rest and freeze for next time.


If you shop wisely, the soup can be economical. Here are some prices and brand choices for main ingredients:

From Aldi: Tomato sauce .25 cents/can, Stewed Tomatoes .49/can, garlic, 3 heads for $1.29


From Pick 'n Save: Roundy's frozen chopped spinach, 9oz square pkg. .99 cents-I think. (I used to use Freshlike bagged frozen spinach, but ever since that e-coli spinach scare a while back, I can't find it.) Roundy's frozen tortellini is much less expensive than the name brand fresh, and it was fine for this purpose. (Sorry, I don't remember the price.) To cut expenses, you can use some other pasta too. I like the fun true Italian types from Angelina's Deli on North Ave.


From Angelina's Deli: Fontinella Cheese, about $7/pound, this is somewhere around $2 - $3 less expensive that Pick 'n Save and elsewhere. Extra Virgin Olive oil, 3 liters for about $24 for Mama Francesca brand from Italy.


Angelina's has a whole host of interesting pasta shapes. I used a cut Ziti style to add to my soup. They also have wonderful Italian bread from Canifora.


Since the weather is still stuck in soup season, give this recipe a try. I have shared this recipe with many people and so far it has met with rave reviews!


Post Script: Don't tell the kids it has spinach in it, just call it by it's name or say it's Tortellini soup. ;-)


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