Weeknight Cooking

Cook This: Dinner Tonight

February  8, 2012

Inspiration for tonight's dinner : sleepy soup-and-salad gets a makeover and comes out drop dead delicious. If the crispy, salty, and spicy, Radish Salad with Anchovy Sauce is the hors d'oeuvre you take out on the town, then WinnieAb's Smoky Minestrone with Tortellini and Parsley or Basil Pesto is the sultry, steamy bowl you want to stay in with, curled up together in front of a roaring fire. 

The Menu 

Radish Salad with Anchovy Sauce by amanda 

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Smoky Minestrone with Tortellini and Parsley or Basil Pesto by WinnieAb

Grocery List

1 large bunch radishes
1 large bunch fresh parsley
2 tablespoons pine nuts
2 slices bacon (optional- if you leave it out then the soup will be vegetarian)
1 leek
1 potato 
1 zucchini
1 15 ounce can of chick peas 
1 28 ounce can tomatoes
1 cup kale
1 9 ounce package best-quality cheese tortellini

Savvy cooks that you are, we assume that between your fridge and your pantry you have olive oil, garlic, a few capers, an anchovy, salt, lemon, parmesan, carrots, celery, onions, and either chicken or vegetable stock. If not, sieze the day and stock up! 

The Plan 

1. For the minestrone, there is some minimal chopping that must happen before you get it simmering on the stove. Prep your vegetables, brown the bacon, saute the onions, dump the vegetables in, and add your stock. Simmer for 30-40 minutes.

2. While the soup simmers away, prep the dressing for the radish salad. Then chop the radishes and toss it all together. From this point, amanda recommends that you serve the salad within 30 minutes. The soup should only have about 20 minutes left so don't stress, the timing is just perfect. 

3. Chop up the parsley pesto that will garnish the soup. Ladle, bowl, garnish, and serve!

Aside: Re: making the pesto. (sshhhh!) If you feel spooked at the thought of whipping up a pesto from scratch along with the rest of your dinner, feel free to open a great quality jar of store-bought, as WinnieAb generously allows. It's a weeknight after all, you can afford a shortcut or two. Why? Because dinner is served. 

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  • Federico_
  • Miranda Rake
    Miranda Rake
Miranda Rake

Written by: Miranda Rake

Miranda is a writer and editor in Portland, OR. She has a sweet, curious toddler, and is passionate about all of the usual things like farmers markets, Phoebe Waller-Bridge, and swimming in the sea. She hates leaf blowers and writing in the third person. Until recently, she owned and operated a small jam company, as is typical for a Portland-based millennial like herself.


Federico_ February 10, 2012
As per the headline on this meal (cook this dinner tonight) I followed your advice yesterday and made it. It was simply fabulous. Possibly the best minestrone I've ever made. I followed the recipe pretty exactly, using store-bought pesto for the garnish. The meal does require a fair amount of advance prep, but the result was very much worth it.
Miranda R. February 10, 2012
That's terrific! I'm so glad it worked out for you!