Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Faster Than You Can Say, "Soup's On!"

Super-Fast Tortellini and White Bean Soup 
 In the last couple weeks I found myself unexpectedly taking on the directing duties for the department's spring production of a devised vaudeville show. While I was happy to help my colleague out, who had to leave town before his show fully materialized, the extra responsibility kept me out of my kitchen. My long hours at the theatre coupled with my sweetie's recent string of closing shifts led to some late night dinners. There are times I don't mind starting a more elaborate meal at 10 p.m. and there are others when I just want to stuff the first thing I see in my face when I walk through the door. This fast and easy soup recipe was a nice compromise - a quick and savory solution to warm you from the inside out in the hours before bedtime. The Parmesan rind is a great way to add a ton of flavor. Try it out.

- 1 qt. chicken broth
- 4 oz. pancetta, diced
- 3 Tbsp. olive oil, divided
- 2 shallots, minced
- 1 15 oz. can white cannelini beans, drained and rinsed
- 2 medium carrots, peeled and diced
- 1 handful fresh spinach leaves, rinsed
- 1 9 oz. package cheese tortellini
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 Parmesan cheese rind, plus extra grated Parmesan cheese for sprinkling

Heat 2 Tbsp. olive oil in a heavy-bottomed soup pot. Add panetta and cook over medium heat until it begins to brown. Remove from pot with a slotted spoon and drain on a paper towel-lined plate. Set aside. Add remaining olive oil and minced shallots to the pot, season with salt and pepper, and cook over medium heat until the shallot soften, about 3-4 minutes. Add carrots and cook over heat for about 3 minutes. 

Add the chicken broth, beans, Parmesan rind, and spinach leaves, and bring to a boil over high heat, reduce heat to low and simmer for about 10 minutes for beans to soften. Add tortellini and boil for about 6 minutes, until they are cooked through. Add cooked pancetta to soup and stir to combine ingredients. Season soup with additional salt and pepper. Serve with a sprinkling of Parmesan cheese.

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