Food Buzz


Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Tortellini + pesto + white beans and veggies = delicioso Italian dinner!!

Recently I was asked to come up with a unique recipe that highlights Barilla Tortellini and I was happy to take on that challenge!  I mean who doesn't love pasta and three cheeses rolled up into cute little bundles? To top it off, Barilla makes their pasta using traditional Italian ingredients!  I couldn't wait to get started.

I had just made fresh pesto the night before so I knew I wanted to incorporate it into the dish, but didn't just want to toss the tortellini with the pesto and call it a day.  As it turned out, the weather was a little gloomy on the day I decided to create this dish and when it's cool and cloudy outside, I automatically think of soup!

Some of my favorite soups (to eat and to make) are Italian: Pasta e Fagiole (an Italian bean and pasta soup), Minestrone (an Italian vegetable based soup).  I have my own recipes for both of those soups, so I thought about combining elements of both and making my very own Tortellini e fagioli with basil pesto.  I am so proud of this soup and I am definitely adding it to my "cold weather" dish repertoire.

Tortellini e Fagioli with Basil Pesto

2 T olive oil
2 shallots, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 carrots, chopped
1 zucchini, chopped
1 can small white beans or cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
1 can diced tomatoes (with juice)
1 qt low sodium chicken broth (plus additional if soup is too thick)
½ tsp dried oregano
½ tsp salt
½ tsp pepper
1 pkg Barilla three cheese tortellini
Basil pesto (recipe below)
Italian (flat leaf) parsley, chopped to taste
Parmigiano-Reggiano, grated, to taste

Heat oil over medium – low heat, add shallots and garlic and saute for 4 minutes, do not brown.

Add carrots and zucchini and saute for 3 minutes.  Add beans, tomatoes, broth and spices.  Bring to a boil, then lower heat and simmer over low heat partially covered for 25 minutes. Taste and add additional salt and pepper if necessary.
Add tortellini to the pot and simmer as directed on package (approximately 10 minutes).

Serve into warm bowls and add 1 T of pesto (see recipe below), 1 tsp Parmigiano and pinch of parsley.

For the pesto:

2 cups fresh basil leaves
2-3 cloves garlic
1/4 cup walnuts
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus additional if needed
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

Combine the basil, garlic, and walnuts in a food processor and pulse until coarsely chopped. Slowly add 1/2 cup of the oil and process until fully incorporated and smooth. Season with salt and pepper.

Taste, then add additional oil, if needed and pulse in the food processor until smooth. Transfer the pesto to a mixing bowl and stir in the cheese.

This soup is easy to make, has lots of vegetables and fresh herbs and tastes great.  Barilla products rock - and don't take my word for it.  Try this recipe on the next rainy day - you won't be sorry!

Chow for now! :)