Smoky Minestrone with Tortellini and Parsley or Basil Pesto

By • May 20, 2010 • 193 Comments

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Author Notes: I love a good minestrone...so much veggie goodness, but so hearty, too. This recipe starts with just a little bit of all-natural bacon, but if you'd rather leave it out, go ahead and proceed with the rest of the recipe. You won't get the smoky flavor, but you'll still get a great soup (you could also substitute pancetta for the bacon, but obviously you won't do that if you are a vegetarian!). I didn't add any salt to the soup because the bacon and my homemade chicken stock did the trick, but please add it to taste, if necessary. As for the pesto, I went the hand-chopped route here because it's a small batch, I didn't want to drag out the food processor, and I wanted to use a minimal amount of olive oil. I made the pesto with parsley, which I love, but feel free to use basil instead. You can also use your own favorite homemade or store-bought pesto instead of this one, if you prefer. - WinnieAbWinnieAb

Food52 Review: We love WinnieAb's proclivity for combining delicious, nutritious ingredients (like the many vegetables in this soup) with a touch of the indulgent (bacon, cheese tortellini). The smokiness of the bacon permeates the minestrone, imbuing the tomatoey broth with a depth of flavor it wouldn't have otherwise. The bright, rustic pesto (we used parsley, but basil would be great too) is a superb final addition, adding a garlicky, herbal kick. - A&M
The Editors

Serves 6-8

Soup

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 slices preservative-free, all-natural bacon, chopped into small pieces
  • 1 large onion, peeled and chopped
  • 2 large cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 leek, trimmed and sliced thinly
  • 3 carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 2 ribs of celery, chopped
  • 1 zucchini, chopped
  • 1 potato, peeled and chopped
  • 4 cups vegetable or chicken stock, preferably homemade
  • 1 15 oz. can of cooked chickpeas, preferably organic
  • 1 28 oz. can of peeled San Marzano tomatoes, with juice
  • Salt
  • 1 cup kale, chopped fine
  • 1 9-ounce package of high quality, all-natural cheese tortellini
  • Aged balsamic vinegar, for drizzling- optional
  • Grated parmesan cheese for garnish- optional
  1. Heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the bacon pieces and cook for a couple of minutes, until they start to brown.
  2. Add 2 more tablespoons of oil along with the chopped onion, garlic and leek. Continue to cook, strirring occasionally, over medium heat until softened.
  3. Add the chopped carrot, celery, zucchini, potato and stir around for a minute or two.
  4. Add the stock, the chickpeas, and then the tomatoes, crushing them with your hands as you go. Add a few generous pinches of salt (be judicious if your stock is salted already). Bring the soup to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for 30-40 minutes, until the potatoes are just tender.
  5. Add the kale and the tortellini, and continue to cook over a simmer until both are tender and cooked through, 5 to 7 minutes. Taste and add more salt if necessary. Serve garnished with a spoonful of the pesto, a few drops of the aged balsamic, and a generous sprinkling of grated Parmesan cheese, if desired.

Parsley or Basil Pesto

  • 1 cup loosely packed basil or parsley
  • 2 tablespoons pine nuts, toasted
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  1. Chop, chop, and chop the basil or parsley some more by hand until it's very fine...when you do this, you'll reduce it down to about 1/4 cup.
  2. As you chop the basil, start to incorporate the other ingredients and chop them fine, too, until you have a lovely, finely chopped pesto.
  3. Transfer to a small bowl and stir in the olive oil. Use as a garnish for the minestrone.
Jump to Comments (193)

Tags: adaptable to vegetarian, Healthy, hearty, kid-friendly, winter

Comments (193) Questions (5)

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3 days ago Maria

This ground parsley is definitely doing its job. I mean, by the look of this, we are gonna make it just fine. - Flemings Ultimate Garage

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10 days ago Jes Anderson

oh yes, everything about this is amazing. i doubled the recipe and this fed my husband and me all week. I omitted the potato and the balsamic vinegar and the pesto, but other than I followed the recipe completely and I will be making this again!

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about 1 month ago Kym

I made this today, with a couple variations to use what I had in the fridge, and it's delicious! I had a bit of jarred basil pesto, a bit more of jarred tomato pesto, and I'd made parsley pesto this morning, and all three went in along with all the veg called for, and extras I had on hand. I didn't have tortellini, so I just cooked ditalini on the side. Thank you for a great soup!

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2 months ago angela

I LOVE this soup. I've made it three times now. The first time I omitted the bacon and it tasted just as good to me. I use pre-made pesto from a jar (trader joe's brand is delicious) and it adds great flavor. Serve with some toasted pine nuts on top! Super easy and delicious recipe- definitely recommend

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2 months ago Babette

Everyone needs to try this recipe, like Beyonce, it too is #Flawless. Perfect for fall and it's bursting with flavor. Also, don't be afraid to add a little more bacon, I mean, who wouldn't?
http://babetteandbuttons...

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3 months ago Stephanie

This was an amazing recipe! I over-indulged and added double the bacon which added another level of depth to the broth (and delicious smokiness!). Sprinkled a little bit of sea salt over it to taste and served it with the basil pesto; the perfect hearty comfort soup!

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4 months ago Kristen N.

I see why the recipe recommends parmesan, pesto and balsamic vinegar, because without it, the soup is rather bland. I omitted the potato, and added fresh oregano and crimini mushrooms to amp up the flavor, otherwise followed as per the directions. Not my favorite minestrone recipe, the broth needs more richness.

Preview_mountain

4 months ago eva hayes

This was so delicious! The balsamic, pesto and Parmesan was a perfect topping I recommend doing the whole recipe! The only thing I changed was extra pasta and maybe next time I'd add some smokey spicey chorizo as an experiment.

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7 months ago Sherly Constant

I made this soup three times so far. It's really good.

Wrong_apple

9 months ago sevenfaces

I had to go a little freestyle jazz with this recipe. I didn't have leeks, chickpeas, and neither canned nor fresh tomatoes, so I put in 2 large tablespoons of tomato paste at step 3 instead. The stock I had frozen had a whole chicken breast floating in it which I only noticed when it started to melt in the pot! That eventually broke up into shreds of chicken throughout the soup which I thought made it even heartier. Instead of making pesto I topped each bowl with chopped parsley and generous amounts of grated parmesan. It tasted wonderful, so even though I may not have made minestrone soup, I thank you for providing this recipe! :)

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9 months ago Ladytroupe Sweets

I'm new to Food52 and loved your interview and when I saw this recipe, I knew it would be a winner for my family (with 3 small children). Living in Ethiopia means I have to improvise often, so I used kidney beans, chorizo, and not very high quality cheese tortellini. But it turned out wonderfully thick and hearty and perfectly matched with some cheese and chive corn bread muffins. Thanks for the recipe. Such a fantastic idea to add the tortellini!

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9 months ago Tutti

Delicious!

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10 months ago Fiona Rattray

I'm going to have to try this again as it didn't quite come together in the way I hoped it would. I did omit the potato and I think a better quality tortellini, as advised in the recipe, would have made a difference.

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11 months ago joannmm

Very good soup. I used very small pillows of cheese stuffed pasta and liked that, purchased basil pesto, and used spinach roughly cut in place of kale. It will definitely be a go-to recipe for me.

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11 months ago ihaventpoisonedyouyet

I followed this recipe exactly as written other than swapping canellini beans for the garbanzo beans. God knows where the worm turned but this was a disaster. As one person said, it was a matter of adding flavors once it was served in a bowl to improve the taste, but I found the texture off putting - too thick, too gelatinous. Others loved it so I don't know where it derailed, but quelle disastre!

Winnie100

11 months ago WinnieAb

Sorry for your experience, but I don't know what to tell you! Certainly not my experience, or the experience of others with the soup...

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11 months ago ihaventpoisonedyouyet

I know! And it looks so good! I'll have to try this again. Once more unto the breach!

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11 months ago thecumincondition

This is the most wonderful hearty soup I think I've ever made. Followed the recipe almost exactly (cooked the bacon separately, used some pre-bought pesto) and let it sit for a bit in my Dutch oven while I went to class. Thank you!

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12 months ago AlainaMK

I made this last night to feed us for the next few days (holed up in Chicago with frigid temps) and it is absolutely delicious - by far the best minestrone I've ever tasted. The pesto is such a unique and flavorful addition! I made a number of slight edits, which I think are worth sharing - especially if you're looking to lighten this up a bit:
-skipped the potato; this has more than enough hearty veggies without
-skipped the tortellini; forgot to purchase so never added - the soup does not need the pasta, esp if you want to cut those carbs/extra calories
-added a few parm-reggiano rinds during the simmering process; added really delicious, additional smokiness
-cooked the bacon fully on its own and added to soup near final stages; I first followed the original direction to add in the beginning, but found that the bacon never fully cooked and was too fatty/raw

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11 months ago phelonious

i sometimes replace the potato & tortellini with diced shitake mushrooms. bacon tip sounds good.

Stringio

12 months ago tastysweet

Any special type of potato? And what size potato? Meaning weight. Thanks. Will making this. Thanks for sharing.

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11 months ago phelonious

i use a white kennebec or yukon gold but any will do. since they are diced check often, they cook fast.

Stringio

11 months ago tastysweet

About weight, what size as they come in many different weights and sizes. I am into weight and use my food scale a lot. Thanks.

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12 months ago Assonta Wagner

Cannot wait to make this...

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12 months ago Margaret

This soup was fantastic! I skipped the bacon and ate it all week long. Highly recommend, a perfect and hearty winter soup.

Stringio

12 months ago steveB

Looks yummy!

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12 months ago Pete O

Super easy to prepare and oh sooo tasty! It was just what was needed on this cold night!
I omit the pine nuts and chick peas due to allergies.

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12 months ago Assonta Wagner

Have you tried roasted pumpkin seeds in your pesto? I have allergies, too and it is divine!

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about 1 year ago Chana Orit

I don't eat pork and my husband is vegetarian. I've learned that smoked paprika (in the spice section) adds that taste without adding meat. Just start small as you add it.

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about 1 year ago Margaret

Wonderful, thank you! I'll be making this tonight!

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12 months ago Alexandra K

Great tip, thank you :)

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about 1 year ago Margaret

I don't eat meat- will it alter the integrity of the soup too much if I omit the bacon? Can you suggest a substitution?

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about 1 year ago Patricia Landers Gee

This is a terrific soup. The combination of vegetables is great. Instead of the bacon I added 1lb of sweet Italian sausage (bulk)that I cooked in a separate pan until crumbly, then added to the soup. It added a bit of spicy flavor that was great with all of the veggies. I will add more kale next time as it adds a nice visual interest to the dish. Instead of the tortellini (since my market didn't have any good ones) I used elbow macaroni as a nod to old fashioned minestrone. Cook the pasta separately and add at serving time. I do this with my chicken soup all the time so I can freeze the leftovers in smaller portions. If you use canned chickpeas make sure to rinse them thoroughly to get rid of the slimy liquid.

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over 1 year ago Denisious

Lyric,
I would freeze portions without the tortelini and just boil as many tortelini in as many bowls of soup as I would immediately consume, this should help :)

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over 1 year ago Richard

Lyric,

I only made it once. Tasted great first of all. I did freeze a few portions, but when I ate them a while later, it wasn´t really soup anymore. Most of the liquid was gone. It was still tasty, but more like a pasta with a bit of sauce and loads of veggies :)

Then again, this was just my experience. I might not have used enough stock or something.

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over 1 year ago Lyric

This looks incredible! Can anyone tell me if they have ever made this & frozen it? I would love to make this and freeze it for my daughter to take to college.

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over 1 year ago phelonious

don't see why not but if possible add the tortellini at school. and make sure you hide it from other family members.

Stringio

over 1 year ago Lyric Glossop Wright

Great idea on the pasta...and hiding it!!

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over 1 year ago phelonious

about the 5th time i made it in the past year, better than ever. will have leftover for lunch today.

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over 1 year ago LeeLeeBee

This is one of our favorite recipes and in regular rotation. We absolutely love it! Who knew vegetable soup could be life changing?!

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over 1 year ago Chana Orit

Planning to make it tonight and since we eat no meat, I thought I would try a dash of smoked paprika to get a little of the smoked bacon taste.

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over 1 year ago Richard

I only discovered this website last week, and this was the first recipe I tried.

In one word: fantastic. I skipped the kale, since I could only find giant bags at my supermarket. I missed the part that said it serves six to eight people, so I now have four portions in my freezer. Which is not a bad thing at all.

I was surprised how easy it was to make. Besides having to convert all the amounts (I'm Dutch, so needed the amounts in metric), it was a breeze. Awesome recipe!

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over 1 year ago Chelsey1818

This soup is Amazing! Absolutely delicious!

Stringio

over 1 year ago Anthony O. Pergola

This looks incredible. I can't wait to try it.

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over 1 year ago deblenares

wonderful! fantastic!

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almost 2 years ago Amandadp

This is such a fantastic soup! I definitely think the vinegar and the pesto take it from a good soup to fantastic!

Pasta--fresca

almost 2 years ago ChefManuela

Isn't it too much here?
www.cooking-class-authentic...

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almost 2 years ago Tibbets

No leftovers here. Delicious.

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almost 2 years ago Gotthescoop

WOW! Just made this last night. Excellent Minestrone. My husband is already talking about the leftovers he's having tonight. Way to go Winnie!!! A BIG Thank You.

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almost 2 years ago vivavo

There are so many different recipes for minestrone but this is by far the best. I've made this once but have been thinking about it on a regular basis...it's on the list for sometime soon again! Thanks for sharing.

Bad_girl

almost 2 years ago alamesa

I saved this recipe a long time ago and finally got round to making it last night. I couldn't find cheese tortellini anywhere locally yesterday so I bought a very good dried pack of biological vegetable tortellini from my local health store. I live in Barcelona and so finding good quality chickpeas is no problem but I think next time I may use half the amount suggested as I didn't think 4 cups of stock (I used organic vegetable stock and a lot more than 4 cups!) was sufficient to make a good amount of liquid for the amount of ingredients here but maybe that's just personal taste. I imagine the quantity can be played around with according to what you veg or ingredients you prefer. I added a very generous amount of grated parmesan to make up for the fact that I couldn't get cheese tortellini (I needed no excuse) It was delicious! Plus, it's a one-pot dish, what's not to love!

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almost 2 years ago JadeTree

Just discovered this soup last month and it is in regular rotation - one of our favorite soups! I made a pot for the family tonight and have the stuff to make another batch this weekend to take to some friends - it's so fun to make and share. Thank you!

Winnie100

almost 2 years ago WinnieAb

SO happy to hear! It's been a while since I made the soup and I have to change that soon :)

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about 2 years ago kjrnyc13

Made this last night and it was delicious (and I will be having this deliciousness for lunch today!).

Changes made to the soup:
-Added more bacon (to really get a great Smokey flavor...plus bacon is awesome)
-An extra zucchini (the package I bought was a two-pack of zucchini and figured I should use it all now instead of it possibly going to waste)
-Added an extra/mini potato (had it around and needed to get rid of it before it went bad)
-Added about 2 more cups of kale (had a huge package of kale and wanted to use as much as I could before it went bad)
-Used a mix of pesto filled tortellini (dried; from Trader Joe's) and fresh parmesan filled mini ravioli's (originally I couldn't find fresh tortellini and only the ravioli...then went to Trader Joe's and found the dried kind and it was just as good; just note you need to let it cook longer in the soup if using dried)
-Added 1 more cup of chicken stock (because I ended up using extra veggies, like the zucchini and potatoes, I added more stock to make up for the extra veggies, etc.)
-Added more garlic (my boyfriend is a garlic fiend)
-Replaced the leeks with green onions (didn't like the way the leeks looked at the store...plus I always end up with a ton of leeks and forget to use them later on)
-Added crushed red pepper and coarse black pepper

Changes made to the pesto:
-Used both parsley and basil (had both in small packages – figured might as well use them instead of them running the risk of going back)

The pesto (and even the slight use of aged balsamic vinegar) really made the soup go from great to fantastic.

Loved this soup, have enough leftovers for days, and will definitely make it again in the future.

Winnie100

almost 2 years ago WinnieAb

Thanks so much for letting me know...fun to hear about all the ways you adjusted the recipe ;)

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about 2 years ago elizabiff

I just made this tonight for a chilly dinner for one in NYC and it was perfect. As some of the others have stated the pesto is key to this dish. I tasted it on its own and it was good, but once I added a big spoonful of the pesto the soup really transformed into something special. I had some basil left in the fridge so I used that but I bet the parsley would be great too.

Winnie100

almost 2 years ago WinnieAb

I do love the parsley as a "wintry" alternative to basil!

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about 2 years ago ENunn

Just made this again, tonight, and it was wonderful again.

Stringio

about 2 years ago julie.richardi

Easy and Good....thanx will make this again, my family was happy

Stringio

about 2 years ago julie.richardi

Easy and Good....thanx will make this again, my family was happy

Stringio

about 2 years ago julie.richardi

Wow....first time soup maker here and it was amazing!!! I have never cooked something so good~sooo easy~ can't wait to follow WinnieAB my family was so happy!!! xoxo ty

Stringio

about 2 years ago julie.richardi

Wow....first time soup maker here and it was amazing!!! I have never cooked something so good~sooo easy~ can't wait to follow WinnieAB my family was so happy!!! xoxo ty

Stringio

about 2 years ago julie.richardi

Wow....first time soup maker here and it was amazing!!! I have never cooked something so good~sooo easy~ can't wait to follow WinnieAB my family was so happy!!! xoxo ty

Stringio

about 2 years ago julie.richardi

Wow....first time soup maker here and it was amazing!!! I have never cooked something so good~sooo easy~ can't wait to follow WinnieAB my family was so happy!!! xoxo ty

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about 2 years ago Gmarkb

I made this last night for a casual dinner party. Served with grilled cheese sandwich wedges. It was amazing. Thanks for this great recipe. I used pancetta but otherwise stuck to the recipe.

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about 2 years ago darksideofthespoon

I am making this! The only mods I made were: More Bacon, More Kale, Less Potatoes and Puy Lentils instead of Chickpeas! YUM, it smells fantastic!

Johnwalker

about 2 years ago shiftins

bacon in minestrone, instant like!

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about 2 years ago KarenO

This was totally yummy. Love the smokiness and all the great vegetables. Used a sweet potato I had instead of a white one, which was terrific. Next time I'll get bigger tortellini; mine were small and were a bit overcooked. Can't wait to make this again.

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over 2 years ago ladyjane

This was such a delicious surprise. The pesto is KEY to the overall taste!

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over 2 years ago elexigente2000

Every time I try to print a recipe I get a ' HAVE A QUESTION ABOUT....." which appears in every single line...is anyone else having the same trouble?

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over 2 years ago elexigente2000

Every time I try to print a recipe I get a ' HAVE A QUESTION ABOUT....." which appears in every single line...is anyone else having the same trouble?

Stringio

over 2 years ago bailboy

This is the most flavorful minestrone I have every had. My husband and I loved it! I made the parsley pesto and found that it really adds to the soup. Excellent!

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over 2 years ago steph.luv

I made this yesterday morning to have for lunch and it was soo good. We've been having unusually high temperatures for March here in Scotland and even though it was over 20 degrees I still thoroughly enjoyed eating this soup for lunch. The tortellini was a great add to the soup as I'm normally used to smaller plain pasta pieces in minestrone. We even ended up having this for lunch and dinner! Thanks for putting the recipe up.

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almost 3 years ago rederin

There isn't a touch of winter here in Houston, and I made it anyway. It was fantastic. My husband and I both enjoyed it. I especially look forward to leftovers tomorrow, when the flavors have had time to mingle. It was a pleasure to make, and an even bigger pleasure to eat! Definitely going into the rotation.

Lobster_001

almost 3 years ago nannydeb

I finally got around to making this yesterday (since we finally got a touch of winter here in Austin) and it was delicious! Even my picky husband loved it and asked for it for lunch again to day! Thanks Winnie!

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almost 3 years ago knitnbead

By 8am this morning, I had this wonderful soup cooking on my stove. The only change I made was I added pancetta instead of bacon since I had this in the fridge. Did not have to add anymore salt but did add a generous amount of freshly grated pepper at the end. I used a three cheese rainbow tortellini. Can't wait to serve for company tonight. Why are the neighbors knocking on my door to see what smells so great?

Stringio

almost 3 years ago sarlex

This soup is Wonderful! I am new to this site and love everything on it. I did not make the pesto this time nor did I add the bacon..non meat eaters in house..but I don't know how it could have tasted any better. Second batch is on the stove..first one was gone in one day!...Thank You so much.

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almost 3 years ago ubs2007

I was excited to make soup. I followed directions exactly, but felt the soup lacked depth. Also, didn't taste the smokiness. Not sure what went wrong here...

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almost 3 years ago mklug

I'm a little tardy to the party here, but had to say that i LOVED this! I was in a minestrone mood, but the only recipe I know for it is my mom's--which is mind-blowing--and it takes forever to make. Not good for after work. Also, we've been trying to cut back on meat and up our vegetable intake, and Mom has a lot of meat in there. So. I did everything I was told for this, and the only thing that took some time was the chopping (I'm still not an experienced cook like y'all, so I'm sure it's just me). Oh, and I cooked the tortellini on its own (and only half of it for the two of us) because I knew I'd have leftovers and didn't want it sitting around in there getting mushy.

It was so much more delish than the easy preparation, short time, and simple ingredients would have suggested to me! This will be a regular at our house. Thank you!

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almost 3 years ago pnavarro

This was absolutely wonderful. The bacon does have a nice smokey flavor that does not over power the rest of the flavors. The bacon adds a nice background taste to soup. This recipe will be a standard from now on in my home.

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almost 3 years ago leighbe

I made this soup for dinner. My family really enjoyed it!!!

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almost 3 years ago Emdog

I will add to the accolades--deeeeelicious! I made the parsley pesto, and it really added so much to an already great soup. Thanks so much, Winnie.

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almost 3 years ago margbee

I made this minestrone for the first time last night based on so many positive reviews and I agree - it is excellent. I loved the pesto and balsamic garnish. Looking forward to leftovers this evening. I will definitely make this again.

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almost 3 years ago phelonious

Making it for the 2nd time, hope I can make it as good as the1st time. Using spinach tortellini this time.

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almost 3 years ago Laurenzim

this is seriously the best minestrone soup EVER!!! The combination of flavors together cooked down with the pesto is so unique!! The only modifications I made; I added in the extra basil left over to the veggies as they were cooking down, I cooked it down for about double the time to really bring out the flavors and I added twice as much stock to make it more soupy since the starches soaked so much of it up!!

Thanks WinnieAb!!! =)

Pirate_face

almost 3 years ago RockSaltUK

I swear this soup has magical properties... It's amazing every single time - and so far there have been quite a few times.

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almost 3 years ago Carol303

This soup is excellent. Would recommend this to anyone.

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about 3 years ago dianarose

I've made this three times, and every single time I am blown away by how tasty it turns out! I've started making hand-chopped pesto regularly as well, since this method makes it easy to control the amount and the consistency. The one addition I recommend is smoked Spanish paprika -- it really kicks the smoke flavor off the charts! Permanent staple in my recipe box, for sure.

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about 3 years ago Una

I looked at this recipe this morning and thought that with such great ingredients this has to be great - I'll make it tonight. Wow!!! In fact, between myself and my husband the utterance of "wow" must have occurred 10 times. I mean this is seriously delicious with such a blend of flavors - I can't wait to make it again. In fact, I'm brand new to this site... had to sign up just to thank you for this incredible recipe!!

Winnie100

about 3 years ago WinnieAb

I really appreciate your taking the time to leave this lovely comment! I am so happy you enjoyed the recipe :)

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about 3 years ago ashleyamore

This has been in my saved recipes list for as long as the recipe has been on food52, and as it's simmering away tonight (finalement!), I know I'll be making it a lot this winter. Yum, yum, yum! Even before the tortellini (which will make this a winner with my preschoolers), this is delicious. Fantastic.

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about 3 years ago ashleyamore

I was right- making the second batch a mere 5 days later :)

Winnie100

about 3 years ago WinnieAb

Yay! So glad you loved it :)

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about 3 years ago phelonious

thanks for the great recipe, made it last saturday night and my 9 year old daughter loved it. the aroma was so wonderful she couldn't stay out of the the kitchen while it was cooking.

Pamelalee

about 3 years ago pamelalee

After enjoying this minestrone last winter, I chose it to kick-off soup season. I doubled it, added the last of our garden's green beans, and everyone loved it, including my in-laws visiting from California.

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over 3 years ago em-i-lis

Emily is a trusted source on General Cooking.

This was really excellent, WinneAb. I made this last night but adapted it for Meatless Monday and summer heat by not using the bacon, potato or tortellini. Instead, I tossed in some Pecorino rinds for depth and put a slice of hearty, slightly stale bread in the bottom of each bowl a la Ribollita. My husband and I really loved it, and my boys can't wait to have it today for lunch.

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over 3 years ago sdunleavy

Just made this last night in the 90 degree heat. So wonderful. I have a MSG intolerence so I substituted goat cheese tortellini and goat cheese for the pesto instead of parm. This hit my comfort zone perfectly. And i have lots left =) Thanks a bunch!!!!

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over 3 years ago LillieRay

I am not a chief by any means, but when I was a child I learned all the basics from from grandfather an italian cook. He would make this homemade sauce that took 3 days and always told me the best dishes have a lot of work and take time. So far this is the best recipe I have found on food52! It has become something I make once or twice a month! I just love how its hearty and healthy. Thank you!!!

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over 3 years ago SusanM3

I love this soup. Made it 3 times adding variations like cabbage... It never dissapoints!

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over 3 years ago SusanM3

Oops, disappoints.

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over 3 years ago cookerjones

I absolutely loved this recipe. Not only was it supremely simple to make, but it felt both healthy and decadent to eat. Plus, I got nearly a week's worth of various leftovers, lunch, a snack here or there. This is definitely going into my permanent rotation! Loved it!

Winnie100

over 3 years ago WinnieAb

I am so glad you loved the soup...thanks for letting me know!

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over 3 years ago IthacaNancy

My anit-bean, anti-kale, anti-zuchini husband ate it. While he didn't rave, he didn't complain either - that's an accomplishment! And I really enjoyed it. This seems like a nice soup to serve to a crowd; it's a one-bowl dinner.

Winnie100

over 3 years ago WinnieAb

I am glad to hear you husband didn't hate it :) And yes- it will definitely feed a crowd!

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over 3 years ago Mountain Mama

Wow. This is wonderful. We made it for dinner this evening with the buttermilk oatmeal bread. Yum!!

Winnie100

over 3 years ago WinnieAb

I bet it was just fabulous with that bread!

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over 3 years ago Melody

this is so delicious! i just made it for dinner. and omitted the pine nuts, kale, potatoes and leeks to save some money and trouble. and it was stillllll delicious! i will definitely make it again :)

Winnie100

over 3 years ago WinnieAb

Yay! So glad you liked it :)

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over 3 years ago The DuelingDoctors

This is the best soup I have ever had! We ate the leftovers for a week and it was delicious every single time!

Winnie100

over 3 years ago WinnieAb

Yay! Thanks for letting me know!

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over 3 years ago sarahvnyc

My boyfriend also told me this was the BEST soup he'd ever had in his whole life...and that means he ranked it #1 over his own grandmother's vegetable soup...and she's one of those legendary Southern ladies who cooks delicious everything.

I didn't have any potato, so I substituted with a half of a sweet potato, which was still good. I think it was a little sweeter with it, so I didn't add any balsamic vinegar to my second helping. I also "accidentally" added an extra bacon piece, as well ;) So good!

Winnie100

over 3 years ago WinnieAb

I am so flattered you guys liked it so much!

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almost 4 years ago elbo1333

I altered this recipe a bit, substituting whole-wheat rotini for the tortellini. I also added a bit of grated lemon zest and basil to the pesto. The added zing of the citrus was a perfect enhancement to the hearty soup. Got raves on the recipe from everyone I served it to. It's a winner!

Winnie100

over 3 years ago WinnieAb

Thank you so much!

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almost 4 years ago SusanCooks

I've made this twice for my vegetable-impaired family to huge success. There is at least one vegetable in here that each of my kids and my husband claim to hate, but they keep eating everything in the bowl and asking for seconds! When I put this on to cook last night, the pickiest eater in the house said simply, 'yay!' Thanks for the great recipe!

Winnie100

over 3 years ago WinnieAb

So happy your family loves it and thanks so much for letting me know :)

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almost 4 years ago Rhonda35

Made this for dinner last night - did not have bacon, so I took hot Italian sausage out of its casings (3 links) and used that. Followed the recipe otherwise. Absolutely delicious! My husband came home from the airport very late in the evening, heated up some soup, then came upstairs and woke me up to tell me "That soup is one of the best things I've eaten in my whole life!" Need I say more??

Winnie100

almost 4 years ago WinnieAb

What a great compliment! Thanks so much for letting me know :)

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almost 4 years ago vivisue

Made this for one of our Superbowl eats on Sunday and WOW! Totally delicious and one of my 'go to' meals from now on. The whole family just loved it! Most excellent!!!!

Winnie100

almost 4 years ago WinnieAb

So happy to hear that- we all love it, too!

Phoenix

almost 4 years ago Phoenix Helix

I made this today & it's absolutely delicious! The only change I made was to substitute green beans for the potatoes. Thanks for this wonderful recipe.

Phoenix

almost 4 years ago Phoenix Helix

I forgot to mention that the tortellini really is a stroke of genius for this recipe. So much tastier than plain pasta.

Winnie100

almost 4 years ago WinnieAb

Thanks so much for letting me know you enjoyed it BlissfulBaker!

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almost 4 years ago steph (whisk/spoon)

this was dinner last night, and it was fabulous! great way to get a bunch of veggies.

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almost 4 years ago Heather Bklyn

Thanks for the recipe. I made it tonight - it was delicious!

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almost 4 years ago PoorMansFeast

Looks great--

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almost 4 years ago tvwells

I made this soup last night and it was really easy and absolutely delicious. Perfect for a cold Sunday night and hearty enough to eat all week, not to mention it was perfectly done in two hours. This is the winter meal in a bowl you dream of but never had the recipe to pull off in a short amount of time. I will be making this a lot this winter. Also, I have never had parsley pesto but its the best thing ever, it was like adding a bunch of lemon zest to the dish, it really brightened the taste but without too much acid and it didn't change the texture of the soup, just enhanced the flavor, absolutely a winner.

Winnie100

almost 4 years ago WinnieAb

Thank you so much...I am so glad you loved it!

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almost 4 years ago Kcruz

Just made this on a rainy night. Delicious, thank you!

Winnie100

almost 4 years ago WinnieAb

We've got terrible weather here today- I really wish I'd stocked up on the ingredients to make some myself!

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almost 4 years ago meglittlebird

I love this soup--especially with the pesto--the only thing I added is to throw in the rind of the parmesan while you simmer the soup. Thanks for such a wonderful meal in a bowl.

Winnie100

almost 4 years ago WinnieAb

That is a terrific idea and I will do that next time!

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almost 4 years ago Robin O'D

I've made this two times now, and the whole family loves it. The recipe makes quite a lot, but it was still pretty good the next day for lunch. I haven't made the pesto part yet, as I am still using my basil pesto cubes from my summer basil harvest!

Winnie100

almost 4 years ago WinnieAb

Do try the parsley pesto if you have a chance...I think I prefer it :)

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almost 4 years ago STEsker

This is a fantastic, hearty soup. Loved all of the healthful vegetables, especially the kale. Couldn't get fresh basil - it was looking rather limp and sad on the market shelf - so subbed in some homemade pesto from our freezer. We will be making this again!

Winnie100

almost 4 years ago WinnieAb

Thanks so much for your nice comment!

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almost 4 years ago gele

I made the soup and it was so delicious! Thank you for sharing.

Winnie100

almost 4 years ago WinnieAb

So glad you enjoyed the soup!

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about 4 years ago QueenOfGreen

This was our delicious dinner over the weekend! (Though I did have to make a few substitutions for being out in the sticks with only a very "mainstream" grocery store to work with.) Thanks for the recipe!

Winnie100

almost 4 years ago WinnieAb

Glad you made it work for you QofG!

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about 4 years ago Waverly

While the soup simmers, I just wanted to let you know that it looks fabulous! I am making it with my children in mind...they all love tortellini..and the flavors of bacon and onions. I have one that has "issues" with green vegetables, but I chopped the kale so fine that perhaps even he will miss it. I have a good feeling about it. Thank you for the recipe!

Winnie100

almost 4 years ago WinnieAb

I hope that you all loved it!

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about 4 years ago slitsky

thanks for the fantastic recipe. i used pancetta and replaced carrots with parsnips but otherwise i followed your recipe. i loved the basil pesto swirled in. my friends told me the soup was "slamming!"

Winnie100

about 4 years ago WinnieAb

I am so happy you liked it! Thanks for letting me know ;)

Stringio

about 4 years ago Jane Eyrehead

I am making this and I know it will be just great. I love kale. I will have to leave out the bacon, though. My family just won't touch it. I usually make up for this by sauteeing the onion, pepper, other aromatics, etc., and it had a nice deep flavor without bacon.

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over 4 years ago gingerroot

I made this for dinner tonight and it was so delicious!! I think my five-year old said it best - (quickly echoed, literally, by my three-year old) "this is the best soup in the galaxy!" Even though it is warm and muggy here in HI - this was perfect. So glad there is a lot left for lunch tomorrow (requested by both kiddos for school lunch too).

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over 4 years ago mookie

This is a great recipe! We don't eat meat, so I skipped the bacon and used some alderwood smoked salt to substitute for the smokey bacon flavor. It worked out well! Thanks!

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over 4 years ago Elizabeth2

I juste made the minestrone, really good !

Mo

over 4 years ago monica's spicediary

Love love it! A new twist on minestrone. It's cold here in the UK so I will defintely be trying this out!

Monica


www.balleindianfood.com

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over 4 years ago lacerise

forgot to say thank you for turning me on to parsley pesto. i'm a convert!

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over 4 years ago lacerise

Made this last night after work and even enjoyed the process at the end of a long day! It was yummy and soul-satisfying with a dollop of parsley pesto, a drizzle of amazing, very old balsamic, and some grated Reggiano. I was a happy woman. And my daughter gave it the thumbs up as well.

Winnie100

over 4 years ago WinnieAb

Yay! Thanks!

Me

over 4 years ago TheWimpyVegetarian

We're back now from vacation and I'm catching up on all the Food52 happenings. This recipe looks absolutely wonderful!! I can't wait to make it. Congrats on another great winning recipe for the book!

Winnie100

over 4 years ago WinnieAb

I hope you had a great time, and thank you so much!

Me

over 4 years ago TheWimpyVegetarian

I made this wonderful soup for dinner tonight. We all just loved it!! Sooooo glad there are leftovers for tomorrows lunches :-) Yum!!

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over 4 years ago Carrollmontreal

PESTO PERFECTO! I made your pesto with parsley and planned to serve it with grilled salmon tonight. But it is so fresh and delicious, we were eating it by the spoonful long before dinner was ready. There are thousands of recipes for pesto, with so many different balances of the ingredients, but your ingredients and proportions are the best! I can't thank you enough. (And I can't wait to make the minestrone.)

Winnie100

over 4 years ago WinnieAb

What a compliment! Thanks so so much!

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over 4 years ago fieldnotesonfoodstuffs

I just finished a big bowl of this soup...it was delicious! Thank you for such a great recipe!

Winnie100

over 4 years ago WinnieAb

I am so glad you enjoyed it!

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over 4 years ago coffeefoodwritergirl

Congrats on your win WinnieAb -- so very well deserved!

Winnie100

over 4 years ago WinnieAb

Thank you so much!

Steve_dunn02

over 4 years ago Oui, Chef

You rock, Winnie....way to go! - S

Winnie100

over 4 years ago WinnieAb

Thanks Steve!

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over 4 years ago RuthK

This looks amazing. I am making it to eat the next day. Would you add the tortellini and kale the day we are eating it?

Winnie100

over 4 years ago WinnieAb

That certainly wouldn't be a bad idea, but I made it in its entirety and reheating leftovers over the next few days with no issues...

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over 4 years ago nannydeb

Congrats WinnieAb! I can't wait to try this in the fall when it's not in the high 90's as it is here today (and for the rest of the summer...).

Winnie100

over 4 years ago WinnieAb

It's way to hot to eat this here now, too...fall it is!

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over 4 years ago somewine

Another Winnie winner!

Winnie100

over 4 years ago WinnieAb

:)

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over 4 years ago barrywine

Looks really good. Can't wait for all the veggies from our CSA start arriving. Lots of good soups in store for the summer.

Winnie100

over 4 years ago WinnieAb

Thanks Dad...definitely!

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over 4 years ago vivisue

Wow, this looks great!! I love soup of any kind. This looks absolutely heavenly! We still hot weather and here in Tx, that's not likely to change until November. LOL! However, I'll just turn down the a/c a couple notches and stay inside and enjoy a bowl.

Winnie100

over 4 years ago WinnieAb

It's definitely best warm, but cold leftovers of this soup aren't so bad either...

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over 4 years ago Abra Bennett

For anyone who wants to omit the bacon, a spoonful of pimenton (Spanish smoked paprika) is a great way to get some smoky flavor in there.

Winnie100

over 4 years ago WinnieAb

Thanks Abra,
That is a good idea!

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over 4 years ago NakedBeet

I am so in the mood for this right now. Congrats on making it to the "finals!"

Winnie100

over 4 years ago WinnieAb

I know! All of the sudden it's chilly out again! Thanks NB!

Steve_dunn02

over 4 years ago Oui, Chef

Way to go Winnie! There is so much goodness packed into each bowl of this soup, I hardly know where to start. Love that it was a hit with the whole family (not easy, I know), the smoke of the bacon, the sweetness of the vegetables, and the fresh pop of the pesto....YUM! Got my Vote.

Winnie100

over 4 years ago WinnieAb

Thanks Steve! My daughter is the toughest "customer". She's 8 and picky about vegetables, but she does love bacon!

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over 4 years ago coffeefoodwritergirl

Congrats WinnieAb! This looks great!

Winnie100

over 4 years ago WinnieAb

Thank you cfwg!

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over 4 years ago KelseyTheNaptimeChef

This is a great one-bowl meal. I can't wait to make it this fall. Also, tortellini is one of my daughter's favorites, she'll dig this for sure!

Winnie100

over 4 years ago WinnieAb

Rarely do I make something that both kids, my husband and I all love, but this did it. I left off the pesto for the kids, though...

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over 4 years ago TasteFood

Lovely recipe, this certainly is a complete meal in a bowl. Perfect!

Winnie100

over 4 years ago WinnieAb

Thanks Lynda!

Monkeys

over 4 years ago monkeymom

Yay Winnie! Congrats...fantastic recipe.

Winnie100

over 4 years ago WinnieAb

Thanks monkeymom!!!

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over 4 years ago drbabs

Barbara is a trusted source on General Cooking.

Congratulations, WinnieAb--another great recipe!

Winnie100

over 4 years ago WinnieAb

Thank you!

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over 4 years ago MrsWheelbarrow

Cathy is a trusted source on Pickling/Preserving.

Fantastic recipe, Winnie! I'm looking forward to some cooler weather this weekend to give this yummy sounding soup a try.

Winnie100

over 4 years ago WinnieAb

Thanks Mrs. W...thank goodness that heat broke, or there's no way I'd be cooking anything anytime soon!

Winnie100

over 4 years ago WinnieAb

Thanks Monkeymom! It's a complete meal in a bowl!

Monkeys

over 4 years ago monkeymom

I'm looking forward to trying this out Winnie. I love kale in my veggie soups and the tortellini floating amongst it all sounds great.