I’m not sure whether it was the unselfish kindness my neighbor showed me or the soup she fed me that I couldn’t stop thinking about. It was my first migraine headache, and I found myself stranded at the doctor’s office, unable to drive home. My husband was out of town. After several calls to friends and family, only to get answering machines, I phoned my neighbor Cheryl Andrassy.
She answered with that nasal sound that always indicates a bad head cold. I immediately wondered who was more pitiful, stranded me or my poor neighbor with the stuffy head. I told her my dilemma, and no sooner than the words could pass my lips, Cheryl was on her way.
Several hours later, as I was coming out of a foggy sleep, I heard a light tapping on the front door. There stood Cheryl, soup in hand.
“I know you probably don’t want anything to eat, but just in case you do, I brought you some soup,” she said.
Later I zapped the soup in the microwave and sat down to sip on it. I am always amazed at the healing powers of food. Feeling pretty miserable and alone, that soup comforted me like a fuzzy blanket on a rainy day. I’ll always be grateful to Cheryl for sharing her compassion and her delicious soup. This quick and easy adaptation makes a wonderful meal anytime you need some comfort.
2 cups frozen cheese tortellini, or 8 ounces other pasta (see Notes)
3 tablespoons shredded or grated Parmesan cheese
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper
1 large egg
1. Remove the spinach from its packaging and place it in a microwave-safe dish. Microwave, uncovered, on high power until defrosted, about 5 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, heat the oil in a 4½-quart Dutch oven or soup pot over medium heat. Peel and finely chop the onion, adding it to the pot as you chop. Add the garlic. Cook, stirring, until the onion is tender, 2 to 3 minutes. Add 2 cups water and the broth; raise the heat to high and bring the soup to a boil.
3. Remove the spinach from the microwave and drain it well, squeezing out the excess water. Add it to the pot. Add the tomatoes with their juice and the sugar. Stir to mix well.
4. Add the tortellini and bring the soup back to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium, maintaining a slow boil, and cook until the pasta is just tender, 4 to 5 minutes.
5. Meanwhile, combine the Parmesan cheese, salt, black pepper, and egg in a small bowl and stir vigorously with a fork or a small whisk. Set aside.
6. When the pasta is tender, slowly drizzle the egg mixture over the soup, stirring constantly. Cook, stirring, for 2 minutes. Then remove the pot from the heat, spoon the soup into shallow bowls, and serve.
Any variety of filled tortellini is wonderful here. For an even more economical soup, substitute a plain short pasta, such as elbow macaroni or rotini, for the tortellini.