Winter is upon us, and soup is one of the most comforting and easy-to-make meals around. Particularly, this recipe for smoky minestrone with tortellini and pesto from Food52 is packed with flavor and perfect for a chilly winter day. This is especially true because it only takes about 30 minutes to make and it is packed full of flavorful ingredients like balsamic vinegar, all-natural bacon, kale, and tortellini add a lovely bit of heartiness. The basil or parsley pesto garnish really ties everything together and gives the soup a beautiful flavor profile, meaning that this soup is sure to become a wintertime favorite.
Ingredients for Minestrone
- 2 slices of (preservative-free) all-natural bacon
- 1 9-ounce package of high-quality, all-natural cheese tortellini
- 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
- 1 large onion, peeled and chopped
- 4 large cloves of garlic, minced
- 2 tablespoons pine nuts, toasted
- 1 potato, peeled and chopped
- 1 leek, trimmed and thinly sliced
- 2 ribs of celery, chopped
- 1 zucchini, chopped
- 3 carrots, peeled and chopped
- 1 cup of kale, chopped fine
- 1 cup loosely packed basil or parsley
- 1 15 oz. can of cooked chickpeas
- 1 28 oz. can of peeled San Marzano tomatoes, with juice
- 4 cups chicken or vegetable stock, preferably homemade
- 4 tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil
- Aged balsamic vinegar, for drizzling
- Grated parmesan cheese for garnish
- A few pinches of kosher salt
Directions for Minestrone
- You’ll start this delicious recipe by heating one tablespoon of extra-virgin olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Take your 2 slides of all-natural bacon and chop them into small pieces. Add these bacon pieces and cook them for a couple of minutes until they begin to brown.
- Next, add two more tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil along with your chopped garlic, onion, and leek. Continue to cook while stirring occasionally over medium heat until the ingredients have softened. Add your chopped zucchini, celery, carrot, and potato into the pot. Stir the ingredients around for about one to two minutes.
- Then, add your vegetable or chicken stock, your cooked chickpeas, and your tomatoes. You’ll want to crush the tomatoes with your gloved hands as you continue. Add a few (generous) pinches of salt and bring the contents of the pot to a boil. Reduce the heat to a light simmer and cook the contents for 30-40 minutes, just until the potatoes are tender.
- Add in your tortellini and kale. Continue to cook over a light simmer until both the kale and tortellini are tender and cooked through, which will take about 5-7 minutes. Taste the contents of the pot and add in more kosher salt if you determine that it’s necessary.
- One of your garnishes for the final product is a parsley or basil pesto. You’ll start this recipe by chopping your basil or pesto by hand until it’s very fine and minuscule, reducing it down to about ¼ of a cup. As you chop the basil or parsley, you’ll start to incorporate your 2 cloves of garlic, pine nuts, and Parmesan cheese until it has a pesto consistency. Transfer it to a small bowl and stir in one tablespoon of olive oil for your garnish.
- Serve the dish garnished with a spoonful of parsley or basil pesto, a few drops of your aged balsamic, and a rather generous sprinkling of grated Parmesan cheese, if you would like.
- You can easily find fresh tortellini for this minestrone recipe in the freezer or refrigerator section of most grocery stores, as well as stocking your pantry with a box of dried tortellini. This quick-cooking, stuffed pasta makes for a comforting and hearty meal, without needing to put too much effort into it. In addition, you can use it for easy side dishes,delicious soups, tasty pasta salads, and even appetizers – all you need is 2 minutes and you’re ready to go! With their bold flavors, these recipes are perfect ways to enjoy this type of pasta.
- If you are looking for a great addition to your recipe, pesto is an excellent choice. You can buy it in jars or in the refrigerator section of your grocery store, but there is nothing better than making it yourself. Fresh basil is available in abundance at farmers’ markets in the summer. Clean, take off the stems, and grind the leaves with nuts and garlic in a food processor. Add oil and you have a versatile sauce that goes well with chicken, pasta, and fish.
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