Thursday, May 31, 2012

Tortellini en Brodo with Greens

I don’t think I’ve opened a food magazine in the past two years without seeing an article about greens.  Swiss chard, mustard greens, beet greens, collards, spinach and more.  These leafy edibles are current darlings of the culinary world and come by their accolades honestly—high in nutrition and fiber, low in calories.  You can even forage for some of them in urban areas and this fact alone makes them absolute stars in the culinary universe.  

The trouble with being the food media’s current fascination is the eventual backlash and ennui.  Soon writers will move on to another super food and greens could be left on the shelf, growing more bitter with each passing month out of the spotlight and off magazine covers. 

While their moment in the sun may soon be over, there are those of us who will always have them in our back pocket to add to stews and soups, omelets and gratins.  We’ve been filing away some of the newer recipe ideas for a rainy day. 

What does any of this have to do with the simple classic soup tortellini en brodo (stuffed pasta in broth)?  Greens may be the only thing you can add that won’t overpower the delicate balance of this hydrating comfort meal. 

Traditionally a dish for cold dark nights, even when the weather gets warmer a handful of cheese tortellini cooked in homemade chicken broth is restorative.  Try it after a day riding surf at the beach, a few sets of tennis or a backcountry bike ride when your muscles are sore and a little chilled. 

Toss a large handful of rinsed baby spinach leaves into the bubbling broth when the tortellini are cooked and just before serving. You have something that no energy drink could ever compete with.

Note: You can make this soup with canned broth but if you've never made homemade chicken broth, this is the recipe that deserves it.  See this blog's entry for November 27, 2009, What's Next, to learn how to make a broth from roasted poultry.