A tomato and pasta soup perfect for a midweek meal

There is something very appealing about having everything you need in one bowl

Tomato and basil tortellini soup

Tomato and basil tortellini soup

 

I love having soup as a main course. There is something very appealing about having everything you need in one bowl. There always has to be something substantial like a loaf of freshly baked brown bread or in this case pasta to make it more of a main meal.

Little pillowy soft tortellini, folded and creased, hide a myriad of flavours. The four-cheese variety is perfect for this soup, but ricotta and spinach is ideal too. I usually buy the freshly-made tortellini, but there are now so many versions available from tiny little dried pasta ones to large fresh pasta ones.  

Tomato and basil soup is a real classic. It reminds me of coming in from school, and dipping cheese sandwiches into bowls of thick tomato soup. It’s one of those soups that doesn’t need to be left simmering and reducing for hours; this comes together in 20 minutes.

In summer I love to use fresh tomatoes, but come winter the tinned tomatoes are ideal. I always find the whole plum tomatoes are better value, and you can actually see what you are getting. For a recipe like this it really doesn’t make a difference if the tomatoes are chopped or not as it all gets blitzed until silky smooth in a blender. You can make this soup with passata too.

Usually tinned tomatoes taste a little acidic and need a pinch of sugar to balance out the flavours. The balsamic vinegar does a good job of bringing a little sweetness and depth here, along with a subtle tang.

I like to make this and keep it in the fridge, reheating it and adding the tortellini five minutes before dinner time. This soup is creamy and silky smooth, but adding the cabbage brings another vegetable to the table and adds great texture.

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I usually place the hot cabbage on the table and once my kids see me helping myself to a spoonful they dive right in too. Some freshly-grated Parmesan and a kick of black pepper makes this a really comforting bowl of deliciousness on a busy midweek night.  

TOMATO AND BASIL TORTELLINI SOUP

Serves 4-6
Ingredients
2 tbsp butter
1 onion, finely diced
2 cloves garlic, sliced
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
2 x 400g tins whole plum tomatoes
400ml stock
100ml cream
1 handful basil leaves
Sea salt and black pepper
Quarter of a green cabbage, finely shredded
400g fresh tortellini
Parmesan 

Method

1. Melt the butter in a heavy-based pan over a medium heat. Add the onion and saute until soft, about five minutes. Add the garlic and stir till fragrant, watch that the garlic doesn’t burn. Season with a little salt and pepper, and add the balsamic vinegar. Cook for a minute then remove from the heat.

2. Blitz the cooked onions, tinned tomatoes and half of the basil leaves together till smooth. I use a Nutribullet for this and do it in batches. Any strong blender will do.

3. Return the tomato soup to the pan, along with the stock, and heat gently. Add the cream and check the seasoning, add more salt and pepper if you need to. Simmer gently on a low heat, but don’t bring to the boil. 

4. Meanwhile place the finely shredded cabbage in a pot with a splash of boiling water and cook on a high heat for about three minutes until it’s just cooked. Drain and set aside. 

5. Add the tortellini to the soup and cook for a further three to four minutes till they are all cooked through. 

Tomato ladle the soup into bowls and top with a handful of cabbage and some torn basil leaves. Serve with freshly grated Parmesan.

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