Monday, May 23, 2011

I love a rainy night...

             Or is it rainy days and Mondays always get me down? Usually it's the former,  but after a week of this rain and no end in sight, I'm leaning towards the latter.  And after yet another dreary day in the city, what's better than a bowl of soup?

I worked my first full week at the new job last week and it rained every single day. And not just little showers, full on storms - pelting rain, driving wind and a chill in the air more reminiscent of October than May.  In the afternoons, when it wasn't chilly, the air hung stale and heavy with humidity; making each breath on my walk to the subway suffocating. 

I have a love hate relationship with the city.   I've learned that we are, in the most literal sense, fair weather friends. Unless it's sunny and hovering in the low 70's, I haven't much use for Manhattan and she, likewise, isn't altogether kind to me.  Rain and humidity make me wonder why I bother to do my hair each morning.  When summer comes the stifling heat in the subway will render any make up I've applied completely useless.  And winter - I'm already dreading the bone chilling winter and we've barely begun spring. But, Manhattan isn't without her charms.  The draw of Broadway, the street corner cafes, the wine bars and beer gardens, the quaint streets of the west village, the insomniatic nightlife - all attributes I love to love.  And, once the weather isn't so gloomy, I plan on loving them fully!  In the meantime, though, I think I'll curl up with a bowl of soup, dry and comfy on the couch, and listen to the rain.

This is a variation on a tortellini soup my mother used to make when I was growing up - thanks to a recipe I found online I was able to pin down more precise measurements than "a pinch of this" and "a dash of that".  She always used homemade chicken broth, and if you're so inclined please do!  I'm finding, these days, that I'm too busy to make homemade broth on the regular (though I probably should) so a quality reduced sodium broth stands in quite nicely in a pinch.  

Tortellini en Brodo with Baby Spinach
adapted from SkinnyTaste

1 tbsp butter
2 medium carrots, chopped
2 medium celery ribs, chopped
1 cup chopped onion
3 cloves garlic, minced
8 cups 99% fat free, reduced sodium chicken broth
3 cups water
1 small Parmigiano Reggiano rind (optional)
1/2 tsp ground pepper
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
2 cups fresh baby spinach

Cal: 162 Fat: 6g Carbohydrate: 21g Protein: 6g Fiber: 3g Serves: 8 (approx 1 1/2 cups per serving)

In a large stock pot, melt butter over medium heat.  When melted, add the Mirepoix (carrots, onion and celery) and garlic.  Stir to coat with melted butter, cover, reduce heat to medium-low and sweat for 10 min or until veggies begin to soften.  

Add chicken broth, water and Parmigiano Reggiano rind.  Raise heat to medium-high and bring to boil.  Once boiling, add pepper and nutmeg.  Stir well.  Reduce heat to low, add tortellini and simmer until tortellini are cooked to al dente (about 10 minutes).  Remove the Parmigiano Reggiano rind and add the baby spinach.  Stir well and cover until spinach is wilted.  

Serve with grated Parigiano Reggiano or Pecorino Roman cheese if desired.  

Bon Appetit!

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