Sunday, August 28, 2011

Smokey Minestrone Tortellini Soup

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Getting together with friends tonight and I wanted to make something special.  Well, for one, it's my baby's birthday.  She's officially 3 today.  We did celebrate in Vegas a few weeks back, but I couldn't let her actual birthday go by without a little flare.  And of course, when asked what she wanted for dinner....Noodles.  
I didn't just want to make a pot of spaghetti (well, I just didn't have the time to do it the way I wanted)  So, I fished around my bookmarked recipes and found one for a smokey minestrone that included tortellini's.  I've already made a killer tortellini soup, so I decided to merge the two recipes together to create this one.  
I absolutely love a soup that is full of veggies, mainly because my girls will eat just about anything in a bowl with broth.  It's a fairly simple dish to make and you can save time by buying pre-chopped veggies.  I like to use my mandolin to slice...makes it go quickly! 
Looking forward to a night with my friends, my mom, and my girls.  The only major thing missing is my hubby.  (who, at this moment, is tucked away in Saudi)  :(  

 Smokey Minestrone Tortellini Soup (recipe adapted from Food52)

4-5 slices smoked bacon, chopped into small pieces
1 large onion, chopped
2 large cloves of garlic, chopped
1 leek, trimmed and sliced thin
3 carrots, shredded or julienne
2 celery stalks, sliced thin
1 zucchini, shredded or julienne
8 cups veggie or chicken broth
1/2 cup apple cider JUICE
1 14oz can, peeled tomatoes (I'm using half a can of San Marzano)
1 14oz can fire roasted tomatoes
3 Tbs fresh basil, chopped
3 Tbs fresh oregano, chopped
1 tsp smoked paprika
1 cup kale, chopped
1 package fresh tortellini (or dry and just cook ahead)
aged balsamic (if using)
fresh Parmesan cheese (if using)

Heat a dutch oven or large stock pot and add the bacon pieces and until they start to brown.

Add chopped onion, garlic and leek. Continue to cook, stirring occasionally, over medium heat until softened.  (you shouldn't need oil, there should be enough fat from the bacon, but if you do, feel free to add a bit) 

Add the chopped carrot, celery, zucchini, and cook until soften a bit.

Add the stock, then the tomatoes, crushing them with your hands as you go, fire roasted tomatoes, basil, oregano, and paprika. Add a few generous pinches of salt...(to taste, less if you made homemade stock) Bring the soup to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for 30 minutes

*Note: if using dry tortellini, cook till just al-dente, and make sure to rinse with very cold water to stop the cooking.

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 with a few drops of the aged balsamic, and a generous sprinkling of grated Parmesan cheese, if desired.

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