Autumn is my favorite season of the year. I love to decorate for and celebrate Halloween. It also heralds our focus on coziness, hygge, and all things comfort: the beauty of changing leaves; fuzzy blankets, sweaters, and socks; scented candles; a warm fire; hot cider; and heartier menus. For me, this recipe is a trinity of culinary comfort.
And bonus: the veggies add a heaping helping of healthy!
Ingredients (serves 4)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 small to medium yellow onion
2 medium carrots, diced
1 small to medium zucchini, slice rounds and quarter
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried parsley
1 teaspoon salt + additional to taste
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper + additional to taste
1 can (14-16 ounces, depending on brand) diced tomatoes with juices (I prefer a 14.5 ounce can of Muir Glen Organic Diced No-Salt Added California Tomatoes)
5 cups vegetable broth
1 cup water
1 pound tri-color tortellini (I prefer fresh, but dried pasta also works - just be mindful of cook time variations)
2 cups lightly packed baby spinach, coarsely chopped
optional: parmesan cheese for garnish
In a large pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Once glistening, add the onion and carrot, stirring until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the zucchini, garlic, dried herbs, and measured salt and pepper. Stir and cook for 1-2 more minutes.
Add the can of tomatoes with their juices, vegetable broth, and cup of water. Bring to a boil. Lower heat, cover, and simmer approximately 15 minutes, or until vegetables are tender.
Add the tortellini, return to a boil and cook for two minutes under suggested cook time on package. Note: the cook time for dry pasta will be longer than for fresh. Add the spinach, stirring to combine and cook for final two minutes. Season with additional salt and pepper to personal taste.
Served above in a stoneware cauldron. Optional garnish: a pinch or two of freshly grated Parmesan cheese. Consider pairing with a crusty Italian bread and Pinot Noir.