Josh's place at the charming and perfectly acquitted new Parvis Lofts, of which I am jealous to a nasty degree
Brent, Joshua, Katie, Kelly, Laura, Luke, Matthew, Sebastien, me
"Big Block of Cheese" (from Josh)
Garlic bread (bread makes you FAT?!?)
Caesar salad (the real, from-scratch kind, y'all; not the icky kind)
Tortellini minestrone with parsley pesto
Brownies (from Katie)
"Lemon-Lyman Bars" (from Kelly)
Watching West Wing, talking about West Wing, calling one another "Sorks"
I must say, this is one of the prettiest soups I've made. Let's have another look, shall we?
Tasted quite good, too, but when is minestrone not a crowd pleaser? With the extra fun of stirring in some bright green pesto and the squish of the cheese in the tortellini, it would have taken a lot to ruin this recipe. I'm not saying it's mindblowing, but it's a good, hearty meal, and I'm going to go ahead and declare it utterly foolproof.
I wasn't about to spend my whole Sunday making tortellini from scratch. Thus: the perfect excuse to get locally-made, fresh tricolor tortellini at Findlay Market. It was really great, too. A bit more expensive than buying something at the grocery store, but so beautifully tender and the cheese was so delicate. I say it's worth it.
I wildly underestimated the amount of soup this would make, and bit-more-than doubled it. All 9 of us could have had another bowl and still had more soup left. This is a make-on-Sunday-and-eat-all-week kind of soup--unless you're having a pretty monstrous soup crowd you probably don't need to go crazy like I did. Leave it as-is.
One regret: I forgot to add a dash of balsamic vinegar to serve. I'll do that when I get my container out of the freezer in, like, April, when I can deal with the idea of eating soup again.
A note: The original recipe has you starting with a few slices of bacon or pancetta in the bottom of your pan to give the soup some smoky meatiness. So if you're currently in a phase during which the methods of raising and processing pork don't bug you (hey, we all go through phases), go crazy. Or, try the minestrone I made in 2009, which I recall being pretty darn delicious (it was a PHASE, okay?).
Also: Thanks to Kelly for recommending this recipe!
Okay, one more note: I'm thinking that if I do this crazy thing again next year, I'm going to have to break my one rule (never a recipe I've made before) so that I can share my mom's minestrone recipe with y'all. I've had a whole lot of minestrone from a whole lot of places, but nothing quite compares for me.
Tortellini Minestrone with Parsley Pesto
adapted from WinnieAb's food52 recipe
Probably serves 8 people comfortably
a good glug of olive oil
1 yellow onion, peeled and diced
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 leek, white and pale green parts only, thinly sliced
3 carrots, peeled and diced
2 stalks of celery, diced
1 zucchini, diced
1 Yukon gold potato, diced
1 quart vegetable stock
1 15 ounce can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 28 ounce can whole peeled San Marzano tomatoes
1 cup kale, finely chopped
9 ounces cheese tortellini
1 cup loosely packed Italian parsley
2 tablespoons toasted pine nuts
3 cloves garlic, peeled
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
Add carrot, celery, zucchini and potato and stir around for a minute or two.
Add stock, chickpeas, and tomatoes (including juice), tearing up the tomatoes as you throw them to the pot (wash your hands; it'll be okay). Throw in a bit of salt and pepper.
Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer for 35 to 40 minutes or until all vegetables are tender and flavors are nicely combined.
While the soup simmers, make the pesto. First, chopchopchopchopchop the parsley. Add pine nuts, and chopchopchop. Add garlic, and shopshopshopshop. Add Parmesan, and chopchopchopchopchop, until everything is pretty much finely chopped. Put it in a bowl, stir in olive oil, and add some freshly ground black pepper.
When the soup's vegetables are all "Hey, man, we're totally cooked!", add in kale and tortellini, and cook until pasta is done (should just be 5 minutes or so). Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Serve soup with a spoonful of pesto and, if desired, some extra Parmesan and a dash of balsamic vinegar.