Sometimes I have my act together, I plan our meals for the week in advance, and I even remember to start the slow cooker in the morning. Other days, not so much. We all need a few recipes that we can turn to at the last minute when we have no idea what to make…and we need it fast! With just 2 minutes of prep and one pot, this Weeknight Meatball and Tortellini Soup is an easy dinner that comes together in only 30 minutes! And p.s. — your family will love it!
Okay, so January and February are kind of the worst months…right? We’re past the magic of the holidays, New Year’s Resolutions are slowly fading into the distance, and Spring Break seems like a mere figment of our imagination. The days are still cold and (often) gray, we’re trapped indoors, and we desperately need of breath of fresh air.
But instead of dwelling on the less fortunate attributes of the season, let’s shift our focus and instead appreciate the good that comes with this time of year. The cozy fires, the toasty sweaters, the excuses to drink hot cocoa, and of course…the soup. I seriously love the smell of a big pot of goodness simmering on my stove, and this Meatball and Tortellini Soup just might be one of my greatest (soup) accomplishments yet!
By employing some of my favorite kitchen shortcuts, I managed to get this rich, flavorful, hearty, and delicious tortellini soup on the table (from start to finish) in 30 minutes. And did I mention that there’s no prep work necessary? I love the ease of frozen diced onions (no chopping, no dishes, and no tears!); frozen meatballs; and a bottle of fresh minced garlic (find it in the produce section) for a simple dinner that requires almost zero work on my part. I’m all about minimal effort.? Plus, who wants to wash an extra cutting board or sharpen a knife? Not me.
While I’m calling this a meatball and tortellini soup, I’d actually say that it’s more like a meatball and tortellini stew. It’s thick, hearty, and full of pasta and meatballs (without much broth). The sauce tastes rich and homemade, as though it’s been simmering on the stove all day in an Italian grandmother’s kitchen. When you serve the bowls and grate some fresh Parmesan over the top, nobody needs to know that that this dinner was an afterthought at the end of an otherwise overwhelming, frantic, and unplanned day. Instead, it’s the perfect ending to another chilly winter day…that gets us one step closer to spring!
Weeknight Meatball and Tortellini Soup
Yield 6 (1 1/2-cup servings)
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- 1 cup frozen diced onion (or you can use 1 medium fresh onion, diced)
- 3 teaspoons minced garlic
- 1 (28 ounce) can petite diced tomatoes (NOT drained)
- 1 (15 ounce) can tomato sauce
- 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
- 4 cups beef broth (I used low sodium)
- 1 (20 ounce) package frozen Italian meatballs, thawed
- 20 ounces fresh three-cheese tortellini pasta
- ½ cup shredded Parmesan cheese, plus additional for garnish
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- Chopped fresh basil, for garnish
- In a large pot, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the onion and garlic, cooking and stirring until onion is tender (about 2-3 minutes).
- Stir in the diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, Italian seasoning, beef broth, and meatballs. Bring to a simmer and cook, uncovered, for 20 minutes.
- Add tortellini to the soup and cook for an additional 7 minutes, or until pasta is tender.
- Stir in Parmesan cheese. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
- Serve soup immediately, and garnish with additional cheese and fresh basil.
Cooking Just for Two? You can prepare a smaller batch of the soup and freeze any leftovers for a later meal. For a half batch of the soup, you will need to cut all of the ingredients in half. For instance, use a smaller (15 ounce) can of diced tomatoes, an 8 ounce can of tomato sauce, a 2-cup can of broth, fewer meatballs, and a small package of tortellini (rather than the 20-ounce “Family Size” that I purchased).