Today is our fourth and final snow day of the week. Otherwise known as the end of my week as a stay-at-home wife. I thought I would treat the husband to a big bowl of love when he got home. And I was also really excited to try out the new dutch oven. We got really lucky and found a Cuisinart 7-quart dutch oven (which normally retails for $200) for $63 at TJ Maxx. And now it is mine. Alllll mine.
This recipe is adapted from one of my favorite food blogs food52. Here is their recipe. I've made a few amendments.
Prep time: 1 hour (shorter or longer depending on your knife skills) // Cook time: 45 minutes
- Ingredients for soup
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
2 slices applewood smoked bacon, chopped into small pieces
1 large yellow onion, chopped
3 large cloves of garlic, minced
1 leek, trimmed and sliced thinly
3 carrots, peeled and chopped
2 ribs celery, chopped
1 zucchini, chopped
5 finglering potatoes (skin on), chopped
5 cups chicken stock
1 15 oz. can chick peas
1 28 oz. can peeled tomatoes, with juice
2 cups kale, chopped fine
1 9-oz, pkg cheese tortellini (Central Market)
Grated parmesan cheese
Ingredients for pesto
1 cup loosely packed basil (I used opal basil, that's why it's purple in the photo)
2 tablespoons pine nuts, toasted
2 cloves garlic, peeled
2 tbs. grated parmesan
1 tbs. olive oil
Directions for soup
- Chop all ingredients first, and set aside. Group the ingredients in bowls based on what needs to be added at the same time.
- 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.
- Add 2 more tablespoons of oil along with the chopped onion, garlic and leek. Continue to cook, strirring occasionally, over medium heat until softened.
- Add the chopped carrot, celery, zucchini, potato 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 (be judicious if your stock is salted already). 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.
Directions for pesto
- Chop, chop, and chop the basil or parsley some more by hand until it's very fine...when you do this, you'll reduce it down to about 1/4 cup.
- As you chop the basil, start to incorporate the other ingredients and chop them fine, too, until you have a lovely, finely chopped pesto.
- Transfer to a small bowl and stir in the olive oil. Use as a garnish for the minestrone.
Goes good with: Crusty french bread, a glass of cabernet and someone to snuggle with