Saturday, September 24, 2011

It's Better Homemade - My Endeavors in Replicating a Packaged Product - "Cheese Tortellini Soup"

A couple weeks ago, I was perusing the food aisle at Cost Plus (World Market) and I came across a section of packaged soups and chili mixes. You know the kind that have all the ingredients neatly placed in a single pouch so all you have to do is throw it in a pot of hot water, add in a few ingredients  and your good to go.  Well I purchased a few different one's (including a cheese tortellini soup mix for those nights I am in need of a quick dinner fix.       So the other nigth I i cooked one up and it was actually pretty darn tasty which got me thinking... If I could get something that good in a package, I sure as heck could create something just as tasty without one.
      In my shopping endeavors throughout the week I picked up all the ingredients I would need. I found a beautiful bulb of fennel and a large beefsteak tomato at the farmer market and picked up the rest of what I needed at the grocery store. I laid out all my ingredients, pulled out a few herbs and spices and put my skills to the test.

My goal - to recreate the tortellini soup from scratch (minus the pasta).
The results - a rich tomato and herb broth exploding with the fresh taste of garden vegetables and tender Parmesan filled ravioli.
The general consensus (from me and my husband, Brandon) - it was even better because, 1. It has fresh tender vegetables that aren't reconstituted like you would find in the package. 2. It has a hearty and satisfying homemade taste that you just can't get with a packaged product.
The reason I chose to use the dried pasta is because this soup needs to simmer a bit and by using the dried tortellini, you get a heartier soup as the starch from the pasta helps thicken the broth and the tortellini also absorbs allot of the broths flavor while it cooks.

Because this is a simmered dish, I use dried herbs, but for an extra bit of fresh garden flavor, you can toss in some fresh chopped herbs of your choice (I prefer basil or thyme) at the end. This gives it another layer of flavor, but if you don't have any fresh herbs it is great without too.

A few great things about this soup -
1. This is a low stress meal. Meaning once you've saute up your veggies, you just throw all the ingredients in the pot, cover and let it simmer.
2. It takes less than an hour to make and has a slow simmered taste as if you've been slaving all day. 3. It is versatile - you can use pretty much any vegetables you may already have handy, such as squash, zucchini, beans, etc…
4. For the seasonings - this recipe uses pantry staples that most people are likely to already have at home. So you can cook this recipe up any time you desire for a fairly affordable price without having to go out and buy a whole bunch of seasonings you will rarely use.

Cheese Tortellini Soup recipe - in following post

No comments: