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Creamy Tomato Tortellini Soup

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    2 tablespoons  olive oil
    1  onion, finely chopped
    4 large  garlic cloves, minced
    28 oz (790 g)  diced tomatoes, (or 6 fresh vine-ripened tomatoes, chopped)
    2 teaspoons  Italian dried herbs, (or seasoning)
    1/2-1 teaspoon  red chili flakes, (optional) -- adjust to suit your taste
    4 cups  chicken stock
    28 oz (790 g)  jar tomato puree, (Passata)
    3 tablespoons  tomato paste
    1 cup  heavy cream
      half-and-half, alternative
      Salt, to taste
      pepper, to taste
2 9oz (250 g) packet cheese tortellini (I use dried not fresh; choose any flavour you like)
    1/2 cup  shredded Parmesan cheese
    4 cups  baby spinach leaves, washed and dried
    1/4 cup  fresh basil, roughly torn or chopped


Heat oil in a large pot over medium heat. Sauté onion until soft, then add garlic and sauté until fragrant (about 1 minute).
Add tomatoes, Italian herbs (or seasoning) and chili flakes if using. Let tomatoes cook for about 5 minutes until juices have released and mixed through the flavours in the pot, then mix through chicken stock, tomato puree and tomato paste.
Season with salt and black pepper, to taste. Partially cover pot with a lid; bring to a simmer on low heat for 15 minutes.
Stir in the cream and tortellini, cook on medium-low until tortellini is just cooked, (about 6-7 minutes). Add the parmesan cheese, spinach and basil; stir until wilted. Serve warm.

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