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October 4, 2010

Recipe for tortellini soup with escarole and zucchini

Tortellini soup

Fall arrived in our neighborhood this weekend, on the heels of a soaking, steamy monsoon. Now, crisp air, falling leaves, and pumpkins have moved in, and with them, the craving for hearty, rustic soups that fill me up without weighing me down. The soup is built around cheese tortellini -- rings of pasta stuffed with a bit of cheese -- and vegetables that add balance and fiber. If you don't have escarole, use kale or spinach or chard. Don't forget the parmesan cheese rind, which adds flavor and saltiness that brings the whole soup together. All you need are a pot and a wooden spoon to make this easy, satisfying meal-in-a-bowl.

Tortellini soup with escarole and zucchini

Serves 6. Can be frozen.


2 tsp olive oil
1 small red onion, chopped
1 medium zucchini, trimmed and diced
3 large mushrooms, diced
1 head of escarole, trimmed, well rinsed, and chopped
1 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp mild red pepper flakes, or more or less to taste
Leaves from 10 sprigs of fresh thyme
8 cups chicken stock, homemade or store-bought low sodium
1 cup diced cooked chicken breast (I use rotisserie chicken), optional
1 cup dried cheese or spinach tortellini
1 Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese rind
Kosher salt and fresh black pepper, to taste


In a Dutch oven or heavy stock pot, heat the oil over medium heat. Sauté the onion until it is translucent, 1-2 miutes. Add the zucchini and mushrooms, and cook, stirring occasionally, for 2-3 minutes, until the zucchini is softened but not yet starting to brown. Add the chopped escarole, oregano, red pepper flakes, and thyme leaves. Stir everything together, and cook for 2 minutes until the escarole is wilted.

Pour in the chicken stock, raise the heat to high, and bring the soup to a boil. Reduce heat to simmer, cover, and cook for 10 minutes, stirring once or twice. Add the remaining ingredients, and continue to cook, uncovered, for 10 minutes or until the tortellini are soft. Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper, if needed. Serve hot.

Print recipe only.


Posted by: Kalynskitchen | October 4, 2010 at 01:03 PM

I love escarole, and I'm sure I'd love this soup!

Posted by: Lydia | October 4, 2010 at 08:12 PM

Kalyn, I love escarole in soup. The slow cooking seems to take the bitterness out, but the greens still have some body. It was such a good pairing with the tortellini.

Posted by: CJ McD | October 7, 2010 at 10:50 AM

I love escarole in soup too. The tortellini puts it over the top!

Posted by: CO | November 20, 2010 at 02:32 AM

I love escarole, and I'm sure I'd love this soup!

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  • I'm Lydia Walshin, a longtime food writer who lives and cooks in a real log house. If I could, I'd eat Chinese noodles, grapes, ice cream and soup every day.
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