Tortellini Minestrone Soup with Pancetta

Soup weather is here, folks! When the first crisp fall day hits, I get cravings for chilly nights and bowls of comfort food. Well, there’s snow on the ground (though we need more!). There’s frost in the air. We wear slippers and extra warm jammies and enjoy the fireplace every evening. Warm soup and crusty bread are always on the menu this time of year!

As much as I love to dive into more involved recipes, these days, I need tasty recipes with a quick prep time because TODDLER. This simple minestrone soup with tortellini pasta fits the bill! I was able to chop a lot of the veggies while Oden was finishing up his dinner in his high chair (read: contained). I used celery, carrot, and onion- the base for every good soup! I also minced some garlic, got my tortellini pasta out of the freezer, and opened a can each of tomatoes and white beans. Quick and easy!

While challenging, 21-months-old is such a fun age. Oden is learning to talk, trying to say new words all day long in his adorable little voice. He also loves to be involved and I like make to make him feel like he’s helping. It’s awesome to see his pride in trying something new! He supervised the beginning of the soup, when I browned some pancetta in my pot.

While Daddy and Oden found a game to play before the little one’s bedtime (likely involving a ball or jumping on the couch or a father-son dance party), I removed the pancetta from the pot and set it on a plate lined with a paper towel. I swirled a bit of olive oil in with the pancetta drippings and added my colorful veggies. Vibrant food always tastes better, especially when winter becomes drab and lacks color.

After a few minutes, I added the garlic and also the can of tomatoes. I chose the fire-roasted version for a bit more flavor. I sprinkled in salt, pepper, and crushed red pepper flakes. I let the veggies and seasonings to mingle for a few minutes before adding chicken stock, cannellini beans (white kidney beans), and the cooked pancetta.

While the soup simmered away, I grated some salty Parmesan cheese and rough-chopped about a cup of spinach. More spinach would be better, but that’s all I had on hand!

A few minutes before I was ready to serve the soup, I added a whole package of cheese tortellini. I used the fresh refrigerated kind, which I keep in the freezer. It cooks within a few minutes- just long enough for me to butter some crusty rolls and pop them into the toaster oven!

The last things I stirred into the soup were the spinach and a big handful of Parmesan cheese. I sprinkled more cheese on top of each bowl of soup (why not?!) and we sat down to eat. I love how the spinach adds a pop of green to an otherwise reddish broth. The tortellinis float to the top and whisper, “Eat me!” Yum!

My favorite thing about this soup (besides how quickly it came together) is the tortellini pasta. It makes the soup heartier and adds another bite of cheesy goodness! The red pepper flakes gave the soup a touch of heat but it’s not spicy. The crisp pancetta also adds so much flavor. This is definitely a soup for dipping bread in the broth!

This time of year, we all have so much going on. The holidays, as magical as they may be, bring a level of anxiety and longer to-do lists. The last thing anyone needs is to stress out about what to make for dinner, too! This soup is a delicious option for a homemade weeknight meal. And it’s so quick and easy to make, you’ll even have time to curl up afterward on the couch, enjoy the neighbor’s Christmas lights, and watch a holiday movie. That’s what I call bliss.

Tortellini Minestrone Soup with Pancetta

You’ll need:

  • 5 ounces chopped pancetta
  • 2 celery stalks, chopped
  • 2 medium carrots, chopped
  • ½ large red onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves of garlic, peeled and chopped
  • 1 can fire-roasted diced tomatoes
  • 1 can cannellini beans, rinsed
  • 6 ounces chicken stock
  • 1 8-ounce package of fresh refrigerated cheese tortellini
  • 1 cup (or more) spinach leaves, roughly chopped
  • ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for garnish
  • Salt, pepper, and crushed red pepper to taste

In a large soup pot, brown the pancetta and remove with a slotted spoon to a paper towel-lined plate. Add a swirl of olive oil to the pot and add the celery, carrot, and onion. Cook and stir for about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, then the can of tomatoes. Add a pinch of salt and pepper and a couple of shakes of red pepper flakes. After a couple of minutes, add the chicken stock and beans. Add the cooked pancetta, too. Bring to a simmer and let the flavors mingle for 10 minutes. Add the tortellini and cook for another 5 minutes or until the pasta is done. Stir in the spinach and Parmesan cheese. Taste and adjust seasonings. To serve, add more Parmesan cheese on top and don’t forget the crusty rolls for dipping in that tasty broth! Yum.

Hungry for more? Check out more of my recipes (including lots of soups and stews!) on the FOOD BLISS page

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