Tortellini soup (la cucina di Jeanne Florini)

What you need
3 tablespoons butter, margarine, or olive oil
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 medium celery stalks, chopped (1 cup)
1 medium carrot, chopped (1/2 cup)
1 small onion, chopped (1/4 cup)
8 cups vegetable stock (fatto in casa – homemade – see note!)
2 cups water
2 packages (9 oz each) dried cheese-filled tortellini
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil or 1 T dried
1/2 teaspoon pepper
Freshly grated Parmesan cheese to serve

1. Melt butter in 6-quart Dutch oven over medium-low heat. Cover and cook celery, carrot and onion in butter 8 minutes, stirring occasionally, add garlic and cook 2 more minutes.

2. Stir in homemade stock and water. Heat to boiling; reduce heat. Cover and simmer about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

3. Stir in tortellini and dried basil (if using) at this time. Cover and simmer 10 minutes – or until tortellini are tender – stir in fresh basil (if using) at this time.

4. Top each serving with cheese.

NOTE: How To Make Vegetable Stock
1 to 2 onions
2 to 3 carrots
3 to 4 celery stalks
4 to 5 sprigs fresh thyme (if use dried – 1 T.)
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon whole peppercorns
8 cups water
Optional Extras: leeks (especially the green parts), fennel, tomatoes, mushrooms, mushroom stems (mushrooms will provide the umami flavor – that is typically found in a meat stock)
1. Heat a few tablespoons olive oil over a medium heat. Add onion, celery and carrot. Cook, covered stirring occasionally until veg are soft (about 10 minutes).
2. 2. Add remaining ingredients and bring to a gentle simmer. Cook gently for about an hour or until the stock tastes rich and full. Strain stock and discard vegetable solids.

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