Tortellini and Meatball Soup with Basil Pesto and Fresh Spinach

Meatball Tortellini Soup with Basil Pesto and Fresh Spinach

I bet this recipe will be a go-to for you and your family – I know it is for mine, especially since I can whip it up in just 4 MINUTES (yes, you read that correctly) in my trusty Cuisinart pressure cooker. It takes longer to chop the onion, carrots and celery than it does to cook dinner – hallelujah! 

**This recipe was featured on Chef Alli’s Farm Fresh Kitchen as part of WIBW 13 News This Morning, March 2015.  Special thanks to the farmers and ranchers of Kansas Farm Bureau for making this cooking segment possible!

1 Tbs. olive oil
1 yellow onion, diced
4 carrots, diced
3 ribs celery, diced
1-2 Tbs. basil pesto
2 cloves garlic, crushed
6 cups chicken or vegetable broth
16 oz. bag frozen Italian meatballs (my family likes beef, but I’ve used pork meatballs as well in this recipe)
16 – 18 oz. bag frozen cheese tortellini
juice and zest of 1 lemon
2 tsp. sugar
3 cups fresh baby spinach, rough chop
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Pressure Cooker Method:  

  • With the cooker’s lid off, heat olive oil on high or browning setting until shimmering; add meatballs and brown nicely. Remove meatballs from cooker and set aside; add onions, carrots, and celery to pot and saute for 2-3 minutes.
  • Add pesto, garlic, broth, tortellini, lemon juice, zest,, and sugar to cooker, along with browned reserved meatballs; securely lock the pressure cooker’s lid and set for 4 minutes on high pressure setting.
  • When timer goes off, perform a quick release to release the cooker’s pressure.  Add spinach; season soup to taste with salt and pepper; serve at once with crusty bread or bread sticks for sopping up the broth.

Stove Top Method:

  • Heat olive oil in a large stock pot or Dutch oven over medium high heat; when oil is shimmering, add meatballs and cook just until nicely browned on all sides; remove meatballs from pot and set aside. Add onions, carrots, and celery to drippings in pot and saute until carrots are fork-tender.
  • Add pesto, garlic, tortellini, lemon juice, zest, and sugar to pot along with browned reserved meatballs; bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer and continue to cook for another 15-20 minutes, or until tortellini are fully cooked and tender.
  • Add baby spinach; season soup to taste with salt and pepper; serve at once with crusty bread or bread sticks for sopping up the broth.

If you prefer a slightly thicker broth for this soup, add a bit of corn starch slurry and simmer a few minutes until soup thickens up.

Now You’re Cookin’,
Chef Alli

4 thoughts on “Tortellini and Meatball Soup with Basil Pesto and Fresh Spinach

  1. Pingback: Quickie Parmesan Bread Sticks | Chef Alli's Farm Fresh Kitchen

  2. Pingback: 2015: This Year in Chef Alli’s Farm Fresh Kitchen! | Chef Alli's Farm Fresh Kitchen

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