There is nothing better than soup for supper! With fresh bread alongside, it just can't be beat for the end of a busy day. And the kicker is ... when you make a big pot of soup, you can have leftovers for lunch for the next couple days ... mmm! Am I right? Huh? Huh?
I made this excellent soup yesterday for supper with fresh hot whole wheat pita bread rounds. Today, I took pictures and had it for my lunch. It's just as good today as it was last night and the pitas are repeating well also!
The inspiration for this soup is from a recipe that I found in The Food52 Cookbook. I fiddled with it a bit, adding much more broth and fortifying the tomato juices fom the fire-roasted tomatoes with added tomato paste and some added water to make the slurry. I also added some different veg and some spices.
If you have The Food52 Cookbook, check out their version. If not, be assured that this one provides a very worthy bowl of minestrone.
Minestrone Soup with Tortellini
3 tbsp. olive oil
2 slices pancetta, chopped into small pieces
1 large onion, small chop
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 large leek, washed, halved length-wise, cut into thin crescents
4 carrots, peeled, small chop
2 celery stalks, small chop
1 large potato, peeled, small chop
1 medium zucchini, small chop
8 c. chicken stock
2 tbsp. tomato paste
1 c. hot water
¼ tsp. dried oregano
¼ tsp. dried basil
½ tsp. black pepper
⅛ - ¼ tsp. smoked paprika – depending on your taste for ‘smokiness’
1 large handful fresh green beans, tipped and sliced to one-inch lengths
1 – 28 oz. can fire-roasted tomatoes, chopped can juices reserved for the soup
1 – 15 oz. can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
2 c. chopped fresh kale
1 – 8 oz. package cheese-filled tortellini
Kosher salt, to taste
basil pesto and Parmesan cheese for garnishing top of the soup servings
Making the Soup:
- Place a large deep stockpot over medium-high heat and add the olive oil to the pan.
- Add the pancetta and fry to golden brown pieces.
- Toss in the chopped onions, garlic, and leeks and stir to make everything wilt – cook about 5 minutes.
- Add the celery and carrots and continue to stir – cook about 3 minutes.
- Add the potatoes and zucchini and cook for another 3 minutes.
- Pour in the canned tomatoes and their juices and the chicken broth, cover the pan, and bring to a low boil.
- Meanwhile, stir the tomato paste into the hot water until the paste is completely broken down in the water.
- When the chicken stock/vegetables come to the boil, add the tomato paste/water, oregano, basil, black pepper, and smoked paprika. Lower the heat and let the soup simmer until the potatoes are almost tender.
- When the potatoes still have ‘bite’, add the green beans, kale, chickpeas, and tortellini.
- Continue simmering until the tortellini and green beans are tender.
- Just before serving, taste the broth and add any salt needed.
- Serve the soup in deep bowls and top with pesto and Parmesan. Have some bread to sop up all the broth.
Note: This recipe is inspired by a minestrone soup recipe in The Food52 Cookbook. I have added the tomato paste/water broth fortification, more chicken broth, garlic, and carrots than the original recipe, the green beans, and substituted pancetta for bacon. My procedure is pretty much the same. Also, Food52’s recipe includes instructions for making basil pesto, but I use Buitoni’s pesto from the cold case at the supermarket and think it’s an easy substitute here. Overall, this is a superior minestrone. You should give it a try.