This soup recipe? It’s not for now. Now is roast and potatoes, or maybe ham or maybe duck. It’s figgy pudding and sticky toffee pudding, and maybe a Bûche de Noël. If you come to the house where we celebrate Christmas, it is exactly the same dinner as Thanksgiving, minus the pumpkin pie. Or perhaps now is latkes and donuts in which case, can I come over?
Now is cookies and treats and presents and stockings and dreidels and gelt. Now is wrapping and bows and lights and songs and menorahs. Now is not soup. But soon it will be soup. Soon it will be over-full and clean-up and let-down and you will want some soup. Soup that has nothing to do with ho ho ho or Hanukkah Harry.
I’m not being pessimistic. I don’t want any of this to be over. I just know how I feel on December 26th and I know I will want soup. You might too.
I’m a Jewish girl who grew up in a suburb of Seattle. So I feel kind of funny calling a Minestrone Soup a Dana Treat original. It started as a soup from a magazine whose font I don’t recognize (Sunset maybe?) and I have changed so many things about it that I call it mine now.
I’ve made this with all different vegetables (zucchini is nice in the summer) and different pastas. To make a lighter soup, I use a small pasta, like an orzo or a ditalini. If you do so, use about a cup of dried pasta and cook it directly in the soup. About 10 minutes before you are going to serve it, bring the soup back up a boil and add the pasta. Cook through and serve.
10 ounces cheese tortellini
2 large leeks, washed well, cut in quarters and thinly sliced
2 large carrots, peeled, cut in ¼-inch dice
2 large stalks celery, cut in ¼-inch dice
1 tsp. dried oregano
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 15-ounce can white beans, drained
2 quarts (8 cups) vegetable stock
5 large leaves kale, leaves stripped off the vein, and finely chopped
1 cup frozen peas
2 tbsp. pesto, homemade or store-bought, plus more for serving
Parmesan cheese, for serving (optional)
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the tortellini and cook according to the package instructions. Be sure to cook them just to al dente. Drain and set aside.
Place the same pot over medium heat. Drizzle in just enough olive oil to coat the bottom of the pot. Add the leeks, carrots and celery. Sauté, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are starting to soften, about 5 minutes. Add the oregano, a large pinch of salt, and a few grinds of pepper. Cook for another 5 minutes, taking care the the leeks don’t burn.
Add the white beans, give everything a good stir, then pour in the stock. Bring the soup to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer. Cook stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are very tender. Add the kale and cook until wilted, about 5 minutes. Add the tortellini and peas and cook just until heated through. Spoon in the pesto and give everything a good stir. Taste and add more pesto, salt, and/or pepper to taste.
Serve in shallow bowls garnished with Parmesan cheese. Pass more pesto and cheese at the table.