This minestrone is the perfect winter dish....chock full of veggies and topped off with cheesy tortellini and basil pesto. There's also bacon. Which is always a good thing.
tablespoons olive oil
slices bacon, chopped into small pieces
large onion, peeled and chopped
large garlic cloves, minced
leek, trimmed and thinly sliced
carrots, peeled and chopped
ribs of celery, chopped
zucchini, chopped (you can also substitute yellow squash)
russet potato, peeled and chopped
cups vegetable broth
15 oz. can of cooked chickpeas or cannellini beans
28 oz. can of peeled San Marzano tomatoes, with juice
- Salt, to taste
cup kale, chopped fine (Swiss Chard is a great addition, too)
9-ounce package cheese tortellini
- Balsamic vinegar, for drizzling
- Grated Parmesan cheese for garnish
cup loosely packed basil
tablespoons pine nuts, toasted
cloves garlic, peeled
tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
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 look brown, but not crispy.
Add 2 more tablespoons of oil plus the onion, garlic and leek. Continue to cook, stirring occasionally, over medium heat until they are softened. Then add the carrot, celery, zucchini, potato and stir around for a minute or two.
Add the stock, the chickpeas/cannellini beans, and then the tomatoes, gently crushing them with your hands as you go. Add a few generous pinches of salt. If your stock is already salted, add a little bit of salt and taste as you go. Bring the soup to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for about 30-40 minutes, until the potatoes are just tender. A fork should go into the potatoes easily without breaking them.
Add the kale or chard 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.
Ladle minestrone into bowls and garnish with a spoonful of the pesto, a drizzle of aged balsamic, and a generous sprinkling of grated Parmesan cheese.
For the Basil Pesto:In a food processor add the basil, pine nuts, garlic and Parmesan. Pulse until it starts finely chopped. With your food processor on low speed, slowly add the olive oil until the pesto is the consistency you like.
Adapted from Food52