My scale has been telling me a consistent tale lately — one of excess in the food and drink department and slackitude in the exercise realm. While I fervently wish I was one of those people who could eat cheeseburgers and never see the impact, I am not so lucky. I will never give up bacon or BBQ or potato salad; I like to say that life is about balance. And balance can be quite tasty when you are cooking up some minestrone like the one I am about to share.
This comes from one of the first food blogs I ever read (and still one of my favorites,) Dana Treat. Mine turned out super green because I ended up with spinach tortellini. I’ve included my tweaks — mostly shortcuts. This soup is hearty and yummy and extra delicious on a cold winter evening.
Minestrone Genovese by Dana Treat (modified slightly)
10 ounces package refrigerated cheese tortellini
2 large leeks, washed well, cut in quarters and thinly sliced
2 large carrots, peeled, cut in ¼-inch dice OR a cup of bagged shredded carrots, chopped up a bit
2 large stalks celery, cut in ¼-inch dice
1 tsp. dried oregano
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 15-ounce can white beans, drained
1 32 oz carton of vegetable stock
A few handfuls of packaged baby kale, chopped
1 cup frozen peas
2 tbsp. pesto, homemade or store-bought, plus more for serving
Parmesan cheese, for serving (optional)
Place a pot over medium heat. Drizzle in just enough olive oil to coat the bottom of the pot. Add the leeks, carrots and celery. Sauté, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are starting to soften, about 5 minutes. Add the oregano, a large pinch of salt, and a few grinds of pepper. Cook for another 5 minutes, taking care the the leeks don’t burn.
Add the white beans, give everything a good stir, then pour in the stock. Bring the soup to a boil, add the tortellini and reduce the heat to a steady simmer. Cook stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are very tender.
Add the kale and cook until wilted, about 5 minutes. (The total time should equal your recommended cooking time for the tortellini.) Add the peas and cook just until heated through. Spoon in the pesto and give everything a good stir. Taste and add more pesto, salt, and/or pepper to taste.
Serve in shallow bowls garnished with Parmesan cheese. Pass more pesto and cheese at the table.
You won’t care how healthy this is because you will be too busy inhaling it. But your scale may be a little friendlier the next day.