Olive oil: This is used to encourage browning of the meat. It also helps reduce sticking.
Ground beef: Use lean ground beef.
Yellow onion: This is a critical ingredient that really builds up the background flavor of the soup, don’t skip it.
Celery: If you want this to cook faster slice it thin, it’s a very crisp vegetable and requires more cooking time than other vegetables to become tender.
Carrots: Dice these up small. I think most of the time small dice is best for soup.
Garlic: As always fresh is best!
Low-sodium chicken broth: Using low-sodium gives a bit more control over the amount of salt. You can even use unsalted to cut sodium in the recipe.
Canned diced tomatoes: I like to use petite cut tomatoes but standard cut are fine.
Tomato sauce: Similar to tomato passata in other countries if you aren’t sure what to look for.
Italian seasoning: If you don’t have this just use 1 1/2 tsp dried basil, 1 tsp dried oregano and 1/2 tsp dried thyme.
Cheese tortellini: I highly highly recommend sticking with refrigerated tortellini not shelf stable, it has a far superior flavor.
Spinach: Opt for fresh not frozen spinach. Frozen spinach will be mushy in soup.
Parsley: Fresh parsley adds a lot more flavor here than dried would. If you have fresh basil on hand sometimes I’ll add that instead.
Salt and pepper: Add to taste.
How to Make:
Brown beef: Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Crumble in beef and let cook until browned on bottom, about 3 minutes.
Break up beef and cook through, transfer: Turn and break up beef and let continue to cook until cooked through. Transfer beef to a paper towel lined plate while leaving 1 1/2 Tbsp fat in pot or add 1 1/2 Tbsp olive oil and drain off fa.
Saute vegetables: Add onions, carrots, and celery to pot. Saute until starting to soften, about 7 minutes.
Add garlic and saute 1 minute longer.
Add canned ingredients and seasoning: Pour in chicken broth, tomatoes, tomato sauce, cooked beef, and season with Italian seasoning and salt and pepper to taste.
Simmer: Bring to a simmer, then reduce heat to medium-low. Cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, until veggies are nearly soft, about 15 minutes.
Cook tortellini in soup: Add tortellini and let simmer according to time listed on package, usually about 4 – 7 minutes.
Finish with fresh greens: Stir in spinach and parsley. Serve warm.