I’m really not much of a gardener.
I’d love to be that girl with a green thumb who spends hours tending her garden and then cooking the fruits of her labor. The last time I had a garden I was eight years old and wore a red checkered bonnet and a homemade dress that perfectly matched my Kirsten doll. With the help of my mom, I planted a small and tidy vegetable garden in the backyard of our Florida home. That garden was my pride and joy. For the first two weeks. But then I uprooted all the radishes one month after planting them because I was just too impatient to wait for them to grow. I would uproot then re-plant the potatoes, checking daily to see if they had grown in size (they never did). I forced miniature carrots down my three year old brother’s throat while I pulled him around the neighborhood in a little red wagon. Finally, I lost interest completely and moved on to the kitchen.
The next time I planted something I was twenty six and after eighteen years, thought it was time to try again. Minus the bonnet. And the red wagon.
So, I scattered these swiss chard seeds last June and said a prayer. And to my disbelief, they actually grew! And grew. And grew. And grew. But the problem this time wasn’t that I was impatient or overzealous. This time, I just completely forgot about my “garden” altogether.
Only when my little garden started completely taking over Adam’s front yard (oops again) did I decide to harvest my crops and actually do something constructive with them. Like, make a soup.
This soup has a light flavorful tomato base and is full of bursting spinach tortellini, MY swiss chard and beans! I actually won a package of beautiful Rancho Gordo heirloom dried beans at the Foodbuzz festival last weekend and couldn’t wait to cook ’em up.
They went perfectly in this soup! I can’t believe this is my first time making tortellini soup. The little tortellini reminded me of cheesy dumplings and this was such an easy and quick way to make a meal out of them!
So cheesy and comforting and the perfect lunch on a chilly Monday. By the way, I’m still eating lunch at 10:30 and dinner at 4:30 over here.
I can’t quite get used to the time change.
Tortellini and Heirloom Bean Soup
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp olive oil
1 large fennel, diced
64 oz vegetable or chicken stock
1 28-oz can whole tomatoes in juice
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1 package fresh tortellini pasta (either cheese or spinach)
2 cups either pinto, kidney or heirloom beans, either canned or cooked from scratch
3 cups fresh spinach or chopped swiss chard
Parmesan cheese for serving
Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a heavy pot. Add the garlic and chopped fennel and saute for three-five minutes, until the fennel just begins to soften.
Quickly pulse the tomatoes in a blender or food processor to just barely puree (you still want some chunks). Add the chunky pureed tomatoes to the pot along with the stock, salt and pepper.
Bring the soup to a boil before adding the tortellini and beans. Reduce heat to simmer and cook for about seven minutes until tortellini are puffy and cooked through. Add the swiss chard or spinach to the pot and stir so that the greens wilt.
Serve soup with lots of freshly grated Parmesan cheese and additional salt, pepper or red pepper flakes to taste.