This recipe is a spin-off of one of my favorite pasta dishes from a restaurant I worked at in high school. The key is the lemon zest. It could also be made vegetarian by using imitation bacon bits in place of real bacon and vegetable broth in place of chicken broth.
1 white onion, finely chopped
1-2 gloves garlic, minced
1 cup bacon, diced into small pieces
1 cup cheese tortellini noodles
5 cups chicken broth
1/2 cup cream
1 tablespoon of olive oil
3 cups spinach, chopped
1-2 tomatoes, chopped
- Heat a drizzle of olive oil in a large soup pan over medium heat. Add onions and sauté for a few moments, then toss in the bacon pieces.
- After the onion is sautéed and translucent and the bacon has started to crisp, add the spinach. Stir and turn down the heat if it begins to wilt very quickly.
- Slowly add chicken stock or broth and raise it to a simmer. Season with salt and pepper, add the minced garlic.
- In a separate pot, boil water and cook the tortellini until they are al dente or slightly before, so they won’t become soggy after sitting in the soup. They can be mixed in like I did, or kept separate to maintain firmness.
- Turn down the heat and add the chopped tomatoes, stir it all together and simmer.
- I wait to stir in the cream until I’ve removed the soup from heat, then I add it and stir it. To finish off the soup, I zest the rind of a lemon to taste, which adds a delicious flavor and sense of freshness to the otherwise heavy, creamy soup.