Friday, February 4, 2011

Smoky minestrone with tortellini & basil pesto

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
Sea salt
2 cups kale, chopped fine
1 9-oz, pkg cheese tortellini (Central Market)
Aged balsamic
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
  1. Chop all ingredients first, and set aside. Group the ingredients in bowls based on what needs to be added at the same time.
  2. 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.
  3. Add 2 more tablespoons of oil along with the chopped onion, garlic and leek. Continue to cook, strirring occasionally, over medium heat until softened.
  4. Add the chopped carrot, celery, zucchini, potato and stir around for a minute or two.
  5. 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.
  6. 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
  1. 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.
  2. As you chop the basil, start to incorporate the other ingredients and chop them fine, too, until you have a lovely, finely chopped pesto.
  3. 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


Marissa said...

Why'd you have to ruin it with meat? I was with you until that point. Adapt it vegetarianly please.

Nicole said...

It is virtually vegetarian Riss, just don't fry the bacon on the bottom of the pot before you add the rest of the ingredients. Voila!