This is one of my favourite meals to make. It is healthy and pretty balanced. You get lots of kale, which is considered one of the super-foods in terms of nutrients, hearty cheese tortellini, beans for protein and of course pancetta. I hardly ever make a soup that doesn’t start with bacon of some sort. If you can’t find pancetta (or don’t have the inclination to look for it) you can use regular bacon. I get pancetta from the deli counter at the grocery store. I ask for thick slices but if they don’t have it at the counter I do buy the thinly sliced pre-packaged stuff. Don’t get the pre-cubed pancetta – I bought that once and it was awful. The pieces were tough and the taste was terrible. Unless you are vegetarian, don’t skip the bacon – it gives the soup such great depth of flavour.
I’m not sure if your kids will like it, but they may eat the pasta. I wouldn’t go so far as to say that my 18-month old ate the soup but he did eat the pieces of tortellini and some beans, making sure that he picked off the green bits. Since the pasta and beans were cooked with the kale I think he got some of the nutrients the kale provides. If you are serving this to young children I suggest that you increase the amount of cheese tortellini because that is likely all they will eat.
* Note about salt – I use about teaspoon or so of Maldon Sea Salt but keep in mind this is coarse salt, so a teaspoon of fine sea salt is a lot more salt. The best way is to have a taste and add salt slowly.
Recipe adapted from Giada De Laurentiis's book "Everyday Pasta".
15 minPrep Time
25 minCook Time
40 minTotal Time
- 100 grams (approx.) pancetta, diced
- 1 tsp grapeseed or olive oil
- 1 medium onion chopped
- 2 carrots, peeled and chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 900 ml tetra-pak of low sodium chicken broth
- 1 cups water
- 540 ml can white kidney beans or romano beans, drained and rinsed (I prefer the 'no salt added' kind)
- 3 cups (approx.) rinsed and chopped kale
- 250 grams cheese tortellini
- 1/4 tsp pepper
- Sea salt to taste
- Start by browning the pancetta in the bit of oil. Once it is brown, add the onion and carrots.
- Let those cook for a bit and then add the garlic and some *salt and pepper. Let that cook for maybe a minute and then add the broth and water. As you add it, make sure you scrape up the brown bits from the bottom of your pot.
- Add the beans and put the lid on and simmer until the carrots are just softened, about 10 minutes.
- This is when I usually chop up the kale unless I am really on my game and I already have this done.
- For the kale, I cut the thick stems off and give the leaves a good rinse. To prepare it, I take a piece and fold it at the natural fold and then slice off the spine. I then roll it into a ball, cut that in half so when I chiffonade it, I don't get absurdly long strings of kale but instead I get lovely bite-sized pieces. I often roll several pieces together to speed the process up.
- Once the carrots are softened add the tortellini and kale and let it simmer together for about 6 minutes - then check the seasoning.
- If it needs more salt or pepper, add it but if it is to your taste serve, enjoy and feel very healthy for eating that much kale.
* Note about salt - I use about teaspoon or so of Maldon Sea Salt but keep in mind this is coarse salt, so a teaspoon of fine sea salt is a lot more salt. The best way is to have a taste and add salt slowly.