Tag Archives | tomato

White Bean Spinach Soup with Tortellini

White bean spinach soup

Me and tomato soup go way, way back.

When I was pregnant with my son, all I wanted the first trimester was tomato soup and grilled cheese.  Pretty straightforward, right?  Not homemade tomato soup…the canned Campbell’s condensed variety with rice.  It was easy enough that my husband could prepare it for me.  It was just about all I could stomach those first few months, but after a prenatal visit at which I lost (rather than gained weight), the doctor told me I had to increase my calories.  He gave me permission to eat lots of ice cream and I never lost weight again that pregnancy.

Off subject, I know…but my love for tomato soup has not waned and I’m always game to try a new variation.

A few notes about variation:

-Use whatever stock you’d like:  vegetable to keep it vegetarian, chicken is delicious, and beef definitely adds richness

-feel free to use a cheese or meat tortellini.  You could even use a short non-filled pasta, such as ditalini

-kale, spinach, chard-any of these would work

-I highly recommend cooking your own beans.  You can buy them from bulk bins, cook a large batch, and freeze them.  You can find everything you need to know about cooking your own beans here  or here  (you can even cook them in a slow cooker or the oven!)

White Bean Spinach Soup with Tortellini


  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp butter
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 2 Tbsp tomato paste
  • 12 ounces fresh spinach, chopped
  • 1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
  • 3 cups vegetable stock (see note above)
  • 3 1/2 cups cooked cannellini beans (or 2 cans, drained and rinsed)
  • 12 ounces cheese tortellini
  • 1/3 cup freshly grated parmigiano-regianno cheese

Heat a large pot over medium-low heat and add olive oil and butter. Add onion, stir to coat, and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in garlic, paprika, salt, pepper and tomato paste. Cook for 5 more minutes. Stir in the fresh spinach, stirring continuously until it wilts. Add the crushed tomatoes, beans, and stock. Increase heat and bring soup to a simmer. Simmer uncovered for 5 minutes Add the tortlellini and cook according to package directions (about 5 minutes or so). Stir in the grated cheese before serving.




Polenta Caprese Stack



Polenta Caprese Stack

ahhhh…we consumed the first local tomatoes of the season yesterday.

I know that our friends to the south have been enjoying tomatoes for several weeks, but the Maryland harvest has been delayed due to the mild summer we’ve been experiencing.  I had just started to hear reports from friends that their backyard tomatoes were beginning to ripen , so I was hopeful that this would be the first week we would have them at the farm where I work as a packer.

Next to eating them straight up sliced on a plate with a bit of sea salt, this is the purest way I can think of to experience a homegrown tomato.  The addition of store bought polenta (feel free to make your own if you’re feeling ambitious) makes it a heartier salad.

Polenta Caprese Stack


  • one 18 ounce tube of polenta, sliced
  • one medium ripe tomato, sliced
  • 6-8 ounces of fresh mozzarella, sliced
  • basil leaves
  • 1 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tsp honey
  • pinch of crushed red pepper

Cook the polenta:

You can do this a number of ways.

Saute (my preferred way if I'm not grilling it. It gives the polenta a slightly crispy golden crust, while the inside stays creamy): Heat a large skillet and add approximately 1 Tbsp olive or grape seed oil. Add slices of polenta to the skillet and cook about 7-8 minutes. Turn polenta over carefully and continue to cook on the other side another 5-7 minutes or until slightly golden.

Bake it: Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Lay the polenta slices on a baking sheet covered with parchment paper. Brush with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Bake approximately 10 minutes.

Grill it: Preheat a grill on low. Grill polenta slices on a grate oiled with olive oil approximately 10-12 minutes or until golden, flipping halfway through.

Meanwhile, make the balsamic reduction:

Add the vinegar, honey, and crushed red pepper to a small saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium low heat. Reduce heat to low and simmer until thick and syrupy, about 10-12 minutes.

Stack your layers:

Polenta - tomato - mozzarella - basil - polenta - tomato - mozzarella - basil - polenta

Top with balsamic sauce and more basil (if desired)


Polenta Caprese Stack



Slow roasted tomatoes and my take on Martha Stewart’s all-in-one-pot pasta dish

Maybe you’ve seen it around the internet…a one-pot pasta dish that first appeared in Martha Stewart’s Living a couple month’s back and seems to have gone somewhat viral.

It’s definitely been on my list to make since I first saw it, but I’ve been waiting for a few vegetables to come into season and wanted to brain-tweak it before actually setting out to make it.  How could it not be appealing?  Throw everything into one pot, including the pasta, and let it simmer until the liquid evaporates and all the flavors have melded together.  If this works, I reasoned, I’m fixing this on vacation. Continue Reading →


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