May 6
2009

Tortellini Soup with Pancetta, White Beans, & Swiss Chard Recipe

Tortellini Soup with Pancetta and White Beans

After tucking into cinnamon rolls and chicken enchiladas over the past couple of days, the seams on my pants were groaning.  I prefer my muffin tops to stay on my muffins, not above my waistband.  In other words, it was time for something lighter.  What better than a flavorful broth, vitamin-packed chard, and filling tortellini?  Okay, so there’s a little pancetta in there. Rome wasn’t built in a day.

If you’re not familiar with pancetta, think of it as fancy bacon.  It is pork that has been salt cured and spiced, and then dried for about three months.  Unlike bacon, it’s not typically smoked.  Pancetta is commonly used in Italian, Spanish, and Croatian cooking.  In your grocery store, look for it by the deli section.  It’s usually packaged flat in 4 oz plastic packages.
This recipe is from Giada de Laurentiis’ book Everyday Pasta.
Chop 4 oz pancetta. 



Chop 3 large shallots, 2 cloves of garlic, and 1 peeled carrot.


Set a large, heavy pot over medium-high heat and add 3 tbsp olive oil. Add the pancetta, shallots, garlic, and carrot.


Cook for about 5 minutes, or until the pancetta is crisp. Stir occasionally while cooking.

Drain and rinse 1 can (15 oz) of cannellini beans.


Giada’s recipe called for Swiss chard, but my grocery store was all out. However, they had some beautiful red chard. Tip from my produce guy: If your chard starts to wilt after a few days, soak it in warm water for about 10 minutes, put it in a plastic bag, and refrigerate it. It will crisp up again. Cool, huh?


So pretty!

Chop 4 cups of the chard.

Add 7 cups low-sodium chicken broth, the chard, and the beans to the pancetta mixture.


Bring the mixture to a boil over medium-high heat, then lower to a simmer. Add 9 oz of fresh or frozen cheese tortellini.

Simmer for 5 minutes for fresh or 8 minutes for frozen tortellini. The tortellini should be just tender. 


Season with 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper and serve.  What a beautiful, flavorful broth!

Other tortellini recipes:
Sunset Magazine’s Greek Tortellini Salad
Serious Eats’ Tortellini with Gorgonzola Cream Sauce

Tortellini Soup with Pancetta & White Beans

3 tbsp olive oil
4 oz pancetta, chopped
3 large shallots, chopped
1 carrot, peeled and chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped
(15 oz) can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
4 cup chopped Swiss or red chard (1 bunch)
7 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 (9 oz) package fresh or frozen cheese tortellini
1/4 tsp freshly ground pepper

Set a large, heavy pot over medium-high heat and add 3 tbsp olive oil. Add the pancetta, shallots, garlic, and carrot.  Cook for about 5 minutes, or until the pancetta is crisp. Stir occasionally while cooking.

Add the low-sodium chicken broth, chard, and beans to the pancetta mixture.  Stir well.  Bring the mixture to a boil over medium-high heat, then lower to a simmer. Add the fresh or frozen cheese tortellini.  Simmer for 5 minutes for fresh or 8 minutes for frozen tortellini. The tortellini should be just tender. Season with 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper and serve.

Makes 4 to 6 servings.

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{ 15 comments… read them below or add one }

1 P. Reetha May 6, 2009 at 1:49 pm

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2 Carolyn May 6, 2009 at 4:28 pm

Looks absolutely gorgeous! The chard looks really fresh as well. Have to try that at home.

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3 jenn@slim-shoppin May 6, 2009 at 8:17 pm

I love the way tortellini tastes in soup!

I love all the ingredients that go into this one, so I will put it on the “to-do” list to make.

Thanks so much for posting the recipe, I love Giada’s recipes!

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4 Cookin' Canuck May 6, 2009 at 8:31 pm

Thanks, Jenn. I’m a big fan of Giada’s recipes, too. All of her recipes that I’ve tried have turned our really well.

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5 Cyndi May 7, 2009 at 5:45 pm

By coincidence, I just saw a post on Serious Eats that talked about pancetta, too. I didn’t know it was not smoked. The post I saw said if you didn’t have pancetta in the fridge but really wanted to make a recipe that called for it, to boil bacon in water 2-3 minutes to remove the smoky flavor.

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6 Cookin' Canuck May 7, 2009 at 6:28 pm

Cyndi, great tip about the bacon!

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7 krissy & daniel May 10, 2009 at 6:31 pm

this recipe looks great. i have swiss chard growing in the backyard, so this is a great idea to try. thanks!!

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8 krissy & daniel May 10, 2009 at 6:31 pm

this recipe looks great. i have swiss chard growing in the backyard, so this is a great idea to try. thanks!!

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9 Colleen May 12, 2009 at 4:45 pm

That looks delicious! I think I’ll try it tonight! :)

Come check out my blog: http://fasterthanpete.com

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10 Colleen May 13, 2009 at 12:06 am

Just had to comment again to let you know that I made this and it was really good! I used bacon instead of pancetta (I boiled it for 3 minutes like Cyndi said) and spinach instead of Swiss Chard because my grocery store didn’t have any kind of chard. It all worked out really well, though! My kids loved the tortellini so much I got them to eat the spinach with it! Thanks.

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11 Cookin' Canuck May 13, 2009 at 7:54 pm

Thanks, Colleen. I’m so glad you enjoyed it. It sounds as though your substitutions worked perfectly.

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12 Tracy April 20, 2010 at 4:40 pm

I love tortellini in soups and other pasta dishes. This looks wonderful!

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13 How To: Simplify April 20, 2010 at 7:03 pm

Wow, this looks so delicious! What a great dish!

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14 Michelle {Brown Eyed Baker} April 20, 2010 at 9:09 pm

Gorgeous soup! I absolutely love tortellini. Add pancetta – even better!

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