Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Italian White Bean, Pancetta, and Tortellini Soup

Having soup for dinner is still a relatively new thing in my life. When I was growing up, the only soup we had came from a can and was generally eaten with a sandwich for lunch. My husband introduced the concept of dinner-sized soups to me with his rustic versions of Chinese classics like wonton and chicken corn when we started living together a few years ago. Now I love making a pot of soup on nights when I want something filling but not overly engorging!

I had the ends of a big bag of cheese tortellini from Costco in the freezer, so I was psyched to see this recipe when I was flipping through Everyday Pasta! I modified it a bit, swapping her shallots for onion and increasing the amount of liquid.

3 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 pound pancetta, chopped
1 small yellow onion, chopped
1 carrot, peeled and chopped
3 garlic cloves, chopped
1-15 ounce can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
1 bunch of Swiss chard, chopped
8 cups chicken broth
4 cups water
1/2 pound of frozen cheese tortellini
Salt and pepper

In a large soup pot, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the pancetta, onion, and carrot and cook until the vegetables are soft and the pancetta is crisp, about 15 minutes. Add the garlic, beans, chicken broth and water and bring up to a boil over high heat. Throw in the Swiss chard and let it wilt, about 3 minutes.

Add the tortellini and reduce the heat to a simmer. Cook until the tortellini are tender, about 8 minutes. Taste for seasoning and add salt and pepper if needed.

If you've never cooked with Swiss chard before, don't be put off by its size! It's delicious, and it has so much good stuff in it. Take each leaf and run your knife along both sides of the thick rib in the middle to remove it. Chop the leaves coarsely and it's ready to put in the soup!

Rating: This is awesome
It was very yummy and relatively easy. I would repeat it, especially if we succumb to the allure of the big bag of tortellini at Costco again.

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