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Smoky Minestrone with Tortellini and Pesto

January 7, 2012

I guess I can’t ever have enough Italian-style vegetable soups.  I love how versatile they

smoky tortellini soup

are and I never tire of them…plus, they’re like winter’s salads.  Chock full of vegetables, but warm and hearty.  This soup features tortellini, makes it quick for a weeknight.  The recipe contains bacon, but I skipped it and instead added some smoked paprika to give it the smokiness.  This recipe comes from Food52 and serves 4-6.


2-3 T olive oil

2 bacon, chopped into small pieces (I skipped this)

1 large onion, chopped

2 large cloves of garlic, minced

3 carrots, peeled and chopped

2 ribs of celery, chopped

1 zucchini, chopped

1 potato, chopped

1/4 t sweet smoked paprika

4 cups vegetable or chicken stock

1 15 oz. can of chickpeas

1 28 oz. can of peeled San Marzano tomatoes, with juice

1 cup kale, chopped fine

1 9-ounce package of cheese tortellini

Good balsamic vinegar for drizzling

Grated parmesan cheese for garnish- optional

Prepared basil pesto


Heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the bacon pieces and cook for a couple of minutes, until they start to brown.  Or, just start by adding 2 tablespoons of oil along with the chopped onion and garlic  to the pan.  Continue to cook, strirring occasionally, over medium heat until softened

Add the chopped carrot, celery, zucchini, potato and smoked paprika and stir around for a minute or two.  Add the stock, the chickpeas, and then the tomatoes, crushing them with your hands as you go.  Add a few generous pinches of salt to taste.  Bring the soup to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for 30-40 minutes, until the potatoes are just tender.

Add the kale and the tortellini, and continue to cook over a simmer until both are tender and cooked through, 5 to 7 minutes. Taste and add more salt if necessary. Serve garnished with a spoonful of the pesto, a few drops of the aged balsamic, and a generous sprinkling of grated Parmesan cheese, if desired.

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