2-1/4 teaspoons minced fresh basil or 3/4 teaspoon dried basil
1/4 teaspoon pepper
Dash crushed red pepper flakes
Shredded Parmesan cheese, optional
Crumble sausage into a Dutch oven; add onion. Cook and stir over medium heat until meat is no longer pink. Add garlic; cook 1 minute longer. Stir in the broth, water and tomatoes. Bring to a boil.
Add tortellini; return to a boil. Cook for 5-8 minutes or until almost tender, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat; add the spinach, basil, pepper and pepper flakes. Cook 2-3 minutes longer or until spinach is wilted and tortellini are tender. Serve with cheese if desired. Freeze option: Place individual portions of cooled soup in freezer containers and freeze. To use, partially thaw in refrigerator overnight. Heat through in a saucepan, stirring occasionally; add broth if necessary.
Test Kitchen Tips
In Europe, Parmigiano-Reggiano and Parmesan are considered the same cheese. But in the U.S., Parmesan is a generic term that may not come from Italy’s Parmigiano-Reggiano region. Using the authentic Italian cheese (in a lesser amount than the original’s ½ cup) ensures a cheesy richness in the makeover with less fat and calories.
Using baby spinach saves prep time because you don’t have to remove the tough stems of mature spinach. Some people prefer baby spinach’s tender texture in salads.