Tortellini Soup; Photo by The Professor

Musical pairing – Country, Keith Jarrett


We’re year-round soup fans here at Smith Bites – chilled soups during the warmer months and hot soups during the winter months.  And with just a few exceptions, we make them from scratch using common pantry and/or ingredients I have tucked away in my freezer.  Some soups are broth-based and some are cream-based but every soup is full of flavor and perfect for lunch or dinner.  Some have meat while others are full of vegetables: lentil, chowder, lightening fast tomato, chili, roasted red pepper – perfect for The Professor’s lunch or a quick dinner when work is particularly busy and I haven’t had time to get a meal together. Add a salad or some great crusty bread and voila’, dinner is served.

This tortellini soup has just eight ingredients but comes together in about 20 minutes, tops – Girl Scout, cross-my-heart, hope-to-die, stick-a-needle-in-your-eye – I promise.   This is real food, real fast, at its finest and does not skimp in the flavor department!

Photo by Smith Bites

Now I must confess that I’m pretty much a sucker for any recipe where garlic makes an appearance and I’m even more giddy when the recipe reads ‘gar-lick-eeee’; that’s one word that makes my heart go all ‘pitter-pat’ (well, besides The Professor . . .)  And this soup is all about the garlic but not in a vampire kinda way; the garlic plays quite nicely in the background while helping to anchor the other elements of the soup.  Using fresh kale brings not only a gorgeous green component to the dish but also adds an earthy flavor and texture.  Of course cheesy tortellini isn’t bad either!  Finishing the dish with a splash of fruity olive oil and freshly grated Parmesan cheese, creates a meal that give good Italian restaurants a run for their money.  This is a must make!

Photo by Smith Bites
Photo by The Professor

Adapted slightly from Fine Cooking, Soups & Stews 2010
Serves 2 to 3 as a Main Course

2 Tbs. unsalted butter
6 to 8 cloves garlic, chopped (NOTE:  I used 8 garlic cloves and it was perfect!)
1 quart homemade or low-salt chicken broth
6 oz. fresh or frozen cheese tortellini
14 oz. canned diced tomatoes, with their liquid
10 oz. kale, washed, thick spines removed and coarsely chopped; set aside
2 Tablespoons jarred pesto
Freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano (recommend using the real deal here if possible)

Melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the garlic and any of the chopped kale spines; saute until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add the broth, a pinch of salt and pepper, then bring to a boil. Add the tortellini and cook halfway, about 5 minutes for frozen pasta, less if using fresh. Add the tomatoes and their liquid, reduce the heat to a simmer, and cook just until the pasta is tender.

Stir in the kale and jarred pesto and cook until wilted, 1 to 2 minutes. Serve sprinkled with grated Parmigiano to your liking and add just a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.  Season with salt and pepper.

Do you have a favorite soup that your either order in a restaurant or make at home?


  1. Darcie – I LOVE that you made this, loved it AND took the time to leave a note! THE BEST!! Thanks!

  2. Just had this for dinner with a simple salad. DELISH! Went back for 2nds. Used fresh whole wheat 3 cheese tortellini and escarole instead of kale (the kale in the store didn’t look appetizing). Also used 8 cloves – which is where the “garlicky” comes in, but in a good way! I will definitely make this again and again. Thanks for sharing the recipe!

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