Celebrate Pasta With Soup

In case you missed it, October is National Pasta Month. And in North Dakota, it’s Pasta Lovers’ Week.

To celebrate, the Herald once again is participating in the North Dakota Wheat Commission’s "Use Your Noodle" crossword puzzle contest. In Wednesday’s Herald, the Food Page will feature the popular contest.

Readers who submit a correctly completed puzzle have a chance to win a “Premium Pasta from the Prairie” T-shirt from the Wheat Commission, a pasta server from the U.S. Durum Growers Association and pasta from Dakota Growers Pasta Co. and Philadelphia Macaroni Co. You can read about it at www.grandforksherald.com/event/tag/group/Features/tag/food/ after midnight.

The contest is not open to online readers of the Herald, so you’ll have to buy a newspaper if you want to participate. But if you’re just interested in the recipes that accompany the contest, you’re in luck. They’ll also be online.

And if you want a sampling of what’s coming up, here’s a soup recipe that’s sure to pique your interest.

Chicken, Spinach and Whole Wheat Tortellini Soup
1 tablespoon olive oil
½ cup chopped onion
½ cup sliced celery
2 cups cooked, shredded chicken
¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, optional
4 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
2 cups water
9 ounces fresh or frozen 100% whole wheat cheese tortellini
1 14½-ounce can no-salt added diced tomatoes, with their liquid0
8 ounces frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
1 egg
¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
Salt and black pepper to taste
In a large pot, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onion and celery and saute 3 minutes. Add the shredded chicken, crushed red pepper flakes if using, broth and water; bring to a boil. Add the tortellini and cook halfway, about 5 minutes for frozen pasta, less for fresh.
Add the tomatoes along with their liquid and reduce the heat to a simmer and cook just until the pasta is tender, about 4 minutes.
Stir in the spinach and heat through, about 1 minute. Meanwhile, whisk together the egg and Parmesan cheese and drizzle into the soup and cook, stirring, about 3 minutes more. Season with pepper and salt, if desired. Remove from heat and serve.
Yield: Serves 4.
Approximate nutritional analysis per serving: 407 calories (33 percent from fat), 15 grams fat (5 grams saturated), 38 grams carbohydrates, 32 grams protein, 561 milligrams sodium, 122 milligrams cholesterol, 7 grams fiber.