the saturday soup – kale tortellini soup April 2, 2011

I’ve mentioned many times that my mother was an incredible soup maker. Her claim to fame – something I’ve also mentioned a time or two before – was this chicken and wild rice soup that I’ve never been able to nail down the recipe for. It was everyone’s favorite. I knew people that asked for it as birthday gifts and they’d store the quarts in their freezer. It was an amazing soup, don’t get me wrong. For me though, one of the ones I preferred more was a tomato Florentine soup with tortellini in it. She didn’t make it that often but when she did, I’d horde it. Despite the fact that once reheated the spinach looked a little gnarly, the flavor was so deep and the tortellini so hearty, I didn’t really care.

The memories of that soup came flooding back to me when I saw this post from Deb at SmithBites. The rich, tomato-y broth punctuated by spice from the garlic. I’ve had this post bookmarked to come back to (and mentioned it in my soup lust list post) and I’ve finally come around to making it. It’s delicious…and so filling and warming on these random isn’t-it-almost-April gray days we’ve been having. I added a little extra heat with some dried red chili flakes for some zip. The addition of the swirl of pesto at the end is great and really adds depth to the soup. While you can save this for a day or two and reheat it, the kale doesn’t keep its integrity much past that.

Kale Tortellini Soup – makes 6 to 8 servings – adapted from this recipe by SmithBites

  • 1 tbsp. grapeseed oil or preferred oil for sauteing
  • 2 large cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp. dried red chili flakes
  • 5 cups good quality vegetable stock – you can also split this with some water – i used 3 cups vegetable stock and 2 cups water
  • 14 ounces chopped tomatoes with their liquid or tomato passata
  • 3/4 of a pound (roughly – you can eyeball this or reduce the amount of kale) rough chopped kale – tough stems removed
  • 8 ounces fresh or frozen cheese tortellini
  • 1 tbsp. good quality pesto
  • salt and fresh ground black pepper, to taste

– In a large soup pot, heat the oil over medium heat until shimmering. Add the minced garlic and saute until soft but not brown – 1 to 2 minutes. Add in the dried red chili and saute for another minute. Pour in the vegetable stock (and/or water) and chopped tomatoes/passata and simmer for 15 minutes. Throw in the tortellini and cook until tender, which takes between 6 and 8 minutes. Stir in the kale leaves and cook until wilted (and the ribs are tender), which for me took 3 to 4 minutes. Stir in the pesto, taste and season with salt and pepper to your liking. Serve immediately.



Dee D Apr 2, 2011 11:04 am

That looks so delicious! So perfect for right now, its freezing over here! Your mom sounds like a amazing cook :)

marla Apr 2, 2011 11:04 am

Love this soup! I am always a taker for “swirls.” Soup is such a nice idea for gifts. I would love to break into a batch of homemade soup at any time. Gotta start storing some in the freezer when I have extra.

bianca Apr 2, 2011 12:04 pm

I love kale, I have dubbed it my new favorite; there is something so rich and flavorful about it. Not to mention it is just so damn healthy, one cannot go wrong!

Happy first weekend in April!

C.M. Reinhardt Apr 2, 2011 05:04 pm

I am always amazed by your photography! Thank you for continually posting inspiring recipes…I will be trying this one out before spring full-on hits here.

SMITH BITES Apr 2, 2011 09:04 pm

love it Tami, just love it! the addition of red chili flakes is something i’ve done as well and you’re quite right – adds a little ‘zip’ and another flavor component. and beautiful photo as always!!

Sasa Apr 3, 2011 04:04 pm

I read Deb’s blog too, she’s great ^_^ I’m sure F. would enjoy this soup, he’s a sucker for anything with tortellini in it.

The Teacher Cooks Apr 3, 2011 07:04 pm

Mmm! Another great soup Tami and a beautiful photo.

lo Apr 4, 2011 04:04 pm

This sounds like exactly the sort of soup I could get excited about. Bookmarking it now, as I also think it would be a great candidate for next year’s soup night!

[…] Florentine Soup with Tortellini and Kale adapted from this recipe by Running with Tweezers * This is the exact recipe I made. If you want a more soupy soup, […]