Friday, April 5, 2013

Tried & True Recipe: Tortellini Minestrone

I love soup.  It's warm and comforting and can be very healthful.  It also tends to make a good amount, yielding leftovers to eat throughout the week or to freeze for later.  It's also usually very cost effective because of how many meals you can get out of it.  Mark is not a soup lover, but he puts up with it without too much grumbling throughout the colder months when I like to make at least one soup a week.  Unlucky for him, it's still pretty chilly out so even though we've technically made it to spring, my soup cravings are still going strong!

This Tortellini Minestrone is a recipe I stumbled upon recently and I've already made it a few times.  I love that it has a nice variety of veggies, is meatless, but is still plenty filling because of the pasta and beans, and it's loaded with flavor for a broth-based soup.  It also comes together really quickly so it's perfect even on a weeknight!

I highly recommend you give this one a try while it's still chilly enough to make you crave warm, comforting foods.

Tortellini Minestrone
Adapted from Pink Parsley, originally from Cook's Illustrated, Soups and Stews

1 Tbs extra-virgin olive oil
2 carrots, peeled and chopped
2 stalks of celery, chopped
1 medium onion, finely chopped
5 oz mushrooms, sliced (optional.  I usually leave these out because Mark doens't like mushrooms, but I think they would be very tasty!)
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp dried oregano
3 cups low-sodium chicken broth
2 1/2 cups V8 vegetable juice or tomato juice can be substituted
1 (15-oz) can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed (any white bean can be used.  I've also used chickpeas/garbanzo beans with great success!)
1 (9-oz) package fresh cheese tortellini (preferably whole wheat)
1 medium zucchini, halved lengthwise and chopped
1/2 cup pesto (homemade, or if store-bought, use the refrigerated variety)
1/4 tsp salt, plus additional to taste
ground black pepper, to taste
grated Parmesan, for serving

Heat EVOO in a large pot or dutch oven over medium heat.  Add carrots, celery, onion, 1/4 tsp salt, plus some ground black pepper, to taste, and cook until softened.  (If using mushrooms, add them once the veggies just start to soften.)  Add garlic and oregano and cook just until fragrant.

Stir in broth, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the pot.  Stir in vegetable/tomato juice and beans.  Bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to simmer and cook ~10 minutes.

Add pasta and zucchini and continue to simmer until soft and cooked through.

Stir in pesto.  Season with additional salt and pepper, to taste.

Serve topped with a little grated parmesan.



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