Is anybody else hooked on the Olympics? Normally I have little interest in the winter games (summer = so.much.better) but for some reason I’m finding myself glued to the TV and I am in awe of these athletes. On Sunday morning, I watched the women’s long distance skiing relay (I don’t know the technical name) and as they finished their portion of the relay they literally collapsed in the snow from exhaustion. It looked like dead bodies on the slopes. What?! And here I am on the elliptical not even close to working up a sweat! Don’t even get me started on the snowboarding. This just isn’t human.
I figured since chances are I will never be an Olympian, the least I can do is cook an awesome soup that you would crave after a major workout. Or better yet, during a lazy day on the couch! Now that sounds enticing. A soup that is equal parts cozy, hearty, yummy and nutritious.
Okay, so maybe it isn’t nutritious per se. But it sure is full of veggies! Green beans, zucchini AND spinach!! With the tomato-y base, all the meat and veggies and the gooey cheese melted on top, we all ended up really loving this soup. The judges gave it a perfect 10!
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 yellow onion, finely diced
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 28-ounce can whole tomatoes and juice
- 2 heaping tablespoons tomato paste
- pinch of crushed red pepper
- salt and pepper, to taste
- big handful green beans, ends removed & cut in half
- 1 zucchini, diced
- 4 cups baby spinach
- 1 pound cheese and spinach filled tortellini
- 1 pound ground sirloin
- 1 egg
- 3/4 cup Italian bread crumbs
- 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, finely grated
- handful fresh parsley, roughly chopped
- handful fresh basil, roughly chopped
- 1/2 cup mozzarella, shredded
- In a large bowl combine ground beef, grated Parmesan, half the minced garlic, 1 egg, a pinch of salt and pepper, breadcrumbs, parsley and basil. Use your hands to incorporate until just combined. Then, use your hands to form the meat mixture into small balls.
- Heat olive oil in a large pot or dutch oven. Add the meatballs to the pot and brown on all sides. You do not have to cook them all the way through. Remove the meatballs from the pot and set aside.
- In the same pot, add onions and the remaining minced garlic and cook for 3-4 minutes.
- Add the tomato paste and tomatoes (and their juice) and break the tomatoes up in the pot using a wooden spoon. Season with a pinch of crushed red pepper flakes.
- Add the chicken broth and stir well. Bring to a boil, then lower heat to a simmer. Simmer for about 20 minutes.
- Add the meatballs back to the pot. Snap off the ends of the green beans, break in half or in approximately 2-inch pieces, then add to the pot along with the zucchini. Season generously with salt and pepper. Cook for about 8-10 minutes.
- Add the uncooked tortellini to the pot and stir together. Time the pasta according to package instructions.
- At the very end, add the baby spinach and cook just until wilted, a minute or 2. Add chopped parsley right before serving.
- Spoon into serving bowls topped with shredded mozzarella.