Italian minestrone is the ultimate comfort food. This version is light and simple, inspired by the first baby greens of spring. My local Italian deli makes the most wonderful pillowy-soft tortellini and I like to combine them with Pre-Chopped Vegetables for quick soups and pasta dinners.

1 tbsp (15 g) unsalted butter
½ cup (80 g) diced onions
½ cup (65 g) diced carrots
½ cup (50 g) diced celery
Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 clove of garlic, grated
1 tbsp (16 g) tomato paste
1 (14-oz [397-g]) can of diced tomatoes
1 quart (1 L) of Triple-Duty Chicken Stock
1 (9-oz [255-g]) package cheese tortellini
1 cup (135 g) fresh or frozen peas
2–3 large handfuls of baby spinach, kale or other spring greens
¼ cup (6 g) fresh basil leaves
Wedge of Parmesan cheese, for grating
In a large, heavy-bottom pot, melt the olive oil and butter over medium heat.
Sauté the onions, carrots and celery until soft and lightly golden, about 5–7
minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Add the garlic and tomato paste. Stir well
until the tomato paste is fully dissolved and the garlic is fragrant, about 30
seconds.
Pour in the diced tomatoes and chicken stock. Place the lid on top and bring the
soup to a gentle boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer (lid tilted) for about 10
minutes, stirring occasionally. Continue to cook until the vegetables are tender.
Right before serving, increase the heat and bring the soup back to a gentle boil to
cook the pasta. Add the tortellini, peas and greens. Simmer, uncovered for just
about 3 minutes. Remove the pot from the heat; the tortellini will continue to
cook without absorbing all of the broth.
Stack the basil leaves on top of each other, roll them up and cut across into
ribbons.
Ladle your soup into bowls and dust with a generous grating of Parmesan cheese.
Sprinkle with the basil ribbons. Once the herbs touch down onto the hot soup,
you will be hit with the most wonderful aroma….
VARIATION #1: SWEET ITALIAN SAUSAGE: Squeeze the meat from its
casing (about 1 pound [454 g] should be good) and sauté with the
vegetables. The fennel from the sausage adds great flavor to the broth.
VARIATION #2: VEGETARIAN: Add 1 teaspoon of fennel seeds instead, and
substitute with vegetable stock.

 

EASY CHUNKY VEGETABLE SOUP
GLUTEN-FREE
When all else fails, and you think there’s nothing to eat in your fridge, dig out
whatever onions, carrots and celery you can find and make this easy vegetable
soup. Having Pre-Chopped Vegetables will cut down on prep, but if you don’t
have any on hand, you can still whip this up in a reasonable amount of time
(especially with one of those handheld choppers I raved about earlier!).
Curling up with a quick, homemade soup that’s simple and good for you is a
lifesaver during a busy week.

1 tbsp (15 ml) olive oil
1 tbsp (15 g) unsalted butter
1 cup (160 g) diced onions
1 cup (130 g) diced carrots
1 cup (100 g) diced celery
Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 cups (450 g) diced Yukon Gold potatoes, skin on (about 2 medium potatoes)
4 cups (946 ml) Triple-Duty Chicken Stock, plus more as needed
2 tbsp (8 g) roughly chopped parsley
In a large, heavy-bottom pot, warm the olive oil and butter over medium-low
heat. Add the onions, carrots and celery and sauté until soft, about 5–7 minutes.
Season with salt and pepper.
Add the potatoes. Pour the stock over the vegetables. Place the lid on top and
bring the soup to a gentle boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer (lid tilted)
until the vegetables are tender, about 20-30 minutes.
Working in batches, carefully purée the soup to a chunky-smooth consistency.
You can do this using a hand blender, food processor or regular blender. (Always
use caution when blending hot liquids; wait until slightly cooled if necessary.)
Add additional stock as needed to get the texture to your liking.
To the pot, sprinkle in the chopped parsley. Stir well. Taste and adjust seasoning
as needed.
To serve, ladle the hot soup into bowls and enjoy