Momma Told Me: The Lost Post: Homemade Tortellini Minestrone #Recipe

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Monday, April 25, 2016

The Lost Post: Homemade Tortellini Minestrone #Recipe

This hearty homemade Tortellini Minestrone features handmade spinach ricotta tortellini and a feast of fresh harvest vegetables sure to comfort in any season.
Momma Told Me: Life seldom goes as planned.

Growing up, Momma often told me "Life seldom goes as planned-" Now, this may seem like a bleak sentiment for a child, but I've come to learn it doesn't always have to carry a sense of the foreboding. Life is full of surprises, good and bad. It's one of the things that makes life worth living. And, while we are just in the 4th month of 2016, this year has proven an exemplary case.

Naturally, the true value in these unscheduled twists and turns is how we choose to view the circumstances. I'll be the first to admit the cacophony of events that have unraveled this first quarter have had me looking and feeling quite glum. I strive myself on being a very vibrant, positive, person- but even Piglet puts on Eeyore's clothes for a day when the scenery begins to look glum.

For example- when I was rear ended, at a dead stop, and my car was totaled on St. Patrick's Day I was devastated. Everyone I ran into insisted the experience should be positive, "Well, hey, you get to buy a new car!" they'd exclaim with a smile. But my back was a mess, and the insurance wasn't about to give me enough to replace my car with one of equal value, I now had no transportation to go and shop for a car, and there was the fact that my car was my baby- where was I going to find another Purple Turbo PT Cruiser? For weeks I let the negativity stack- January had been black mold, February was the great hard drive crash of 2016, March my car was totaled, and in April my grandfather was hospitalized in a stay he still continues. When will life stop raining on me?

For weeks I was very solemn. I slept strange hours or not at all. I felt no inspiration to create or write. And the lack of transportation had me feeling completely isolated and helpless.

But life seldom goes as planned-

And then I opened my laptop, to sort through the recovered files from my hard-drive back for family photos I could print and send to my father as a sign of support. And I found this folder of recipe shots from February 2nd. A post I had originally planned to share for Tortellini Day (February 13th,) edited and just sitting in a file in a subfolder on an external drive.

I can't claim that I had en epiphany over soup photos, I mean, they are nice photos- but something inside me kicked up that old phrase from my mother. The second half of her advice. "Life seldom goes as planned- the only thing you can control is how you choose to deal with it." Ironically, this goes hand in hand with one of her other favorite phrases- "It is what it is." A phrase I've come to adopt more recently. Sure, I could sit around feeling sorry for myself, or brewing negative thoughts in my head- but the only thing I'm really doing is punishing myself.

So, if you happen to be having a tough day, week, month, or year (like me) maybe Momma's advice can help. After all, you never know when the next very pleasant surprise is just around the corner....

And, without further ado- I present to you the 'Lost' Tortellini post-
I've never made pasta before.

In fact, it's something I can confidently say I felt rather secure in saying I never wanted to. I watch plenty of foodie shows, from professional cooking to home cook competitions and I know all to well, much like a soufflé, one tiny error in timing or measurement can be the difference between a hot mess or a hot success.

So, naturally, it was a silly national holiday- Tortellini Day that inspired me to try 2 things I'd never done before- homemade pasta (stuffed pasta at that) AND a homemade minestrone.
If you're like me and you've lived a life intimidated by the prospect of fresh made pasta, I'm here to say it is entirely doable. I did it on the first attempt.

Granted, I did cover my entire kitchen counter with flour and egg on my first attempt to 'hand mix' the dough. But, hey, I sure felt authentic pouring that egg into the center of a volcano of flour! Yes, your fingers will get impossibly sticky- keep at it, the mess will turn into a lump of dough. And, with proper kneading, you will actually be able to roll it out by hand.

If you're feeling a bit unsure just make sure to don an apron, and watch an Alton Brown video or two- you'll be rolling out fresh pasta in no time.
Of course you can choose to stuff your tortellini with a variety of things- In my world a stuffed pasta without cheese is no pasta at all- So I went with a delicious ricotta-parmesan spinach variation that will perfectly compliment the minestrone soup recipe I've paired with them. This makes the perfectly soft, creamy, tortellini texture really pop in the hearty vegetable soup broth.
I was again intimidated by the prospect of folding my pasta- First I decided on the proper size round cookie cutter and cut a few test circles out. I quickly learned I was not rolling the pasta thin enough- and my circles were not big enough to properly make the seams required to keep my filling from bubbling out when cooking.

A word to the wise- if you let your pasta sit out it will begin to dry and get 'scaly'- it's still edible, but might cook tougher or be hard to fold. To avoid this I cover my pasta dough/cutouts/sheets in a bowl with a damp towel.
homemade spinach ricotta tortellini
To fold a tortellini is actually quite simple. 

Place your filling in the center of your pasta disc leaving about 1/2" from filling to edge. Dip your finger in egg wash and run it along the exposed edge of pasta. Fold your pasta in half to form a semi circle, pressing the seam together, using the egg wash as a binder. Next, pinching the two corners fold the corners in towards each other to form a crescent. Tuch the corners into the very middle- the outer edges should have naturally curled up to form a 'lip'.
The rest is pretty easy-

Whether you choose to cook your minestrone in a pot or a slow cooker, you'll want to store your tortellini in the fridge until about 5-10 minutes before serving. Since minestrone is a slow simmer soup- I enjoy making this recipe on a lazy afternoon, when I can take my time and really fill my home with amazing smells.
chicken brothchicken broth
This hearty homemade Tortellini Minestrone features handmade spinach ricotta tortellini and a feast of fresh harvest vegetables sure to comfort in any season.This hearty homemade Tortellini Minestrone features handmade spinach ricotta tortellini and a feast of fresh harvest vegetables sure to comfort in any season.
Here in Southern California, we've already had several "Summer" days, where the temperatures have kissed 100F. So it might seem odd that I'm sharing this Fall soup recipe- remember, this was supposed to go live in February. No worries though, it turns out the winds have been unusually cold here on the SoCal coast and I'll actually be making this recipe again this week. I'm sure plenty of my readers are wishing they had Summer weather- and this soup will come as the perfect cold weather comfort.
This hearty homemade Tortellini Minestrone features handmade spinach ricotta tortellini and a feast of fresh harvest vegetables sure to comfort in any season.
This hearty homemade Tortellini Minestrone features handmade spinach ricotta tortellini and a feast of fresh harvest vegetables sure to comfort in any season.
I do wish I'd made the broth a little thicker- and think I might add more tomato next time to really simmer down my stock base- thankfully there were plenty of fresh farmer's market veggies in the pot to really give this dish a  hearty, comfort food, feel without the weighing down of other dishes. Best of all, you can really customize the veggies to your family's personal preference, or simply what's freshest in season. The tortellini may seem like the star, but the flavors pop so much, every spoon really is a treat!
Homemade spinach ricotta tortellini
So there you have it- my first try at homemade pasta, ever.
It didn't turn out bad at all, I'd say. And the minestrone made more than enough to share with some family and friends- that's true comfort cooking at it's finest!

What Daughter Says: When life gets messy, make pasta!

This hearty homemade Tortellini Minestrone features handmade spinach ricotta tortellini and a feast of fresh harvest vegetables sure to comfort in any season.
Homemade Tortellini Minestrone
***Click here for printable Tortellini Minestrone recipe

Fresh Pasta:

3 C Flour
2 Large Eggs
2-3 TBS Water
1 TSP Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1/2 TSP Salt

Tortellini Filling:

1/2 C Reduced Fat Ricotta Cheese
1/4 C Grated Parmesan
2 TBS Chopped Spinach
1 Large Egg

1 Egg Mixed With 1 TSP Water (Egg Wash)


1 TBS Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 Yellow Onion, Finely Chopped
2 Cloves Minced Garlic
2 Carrots, Peeled And Chopped
2 Stalks Celery, Thinly Sliced
2 Zucchini, Quartered Lengthwise And Sliced
1 (14.5oz) Can Diced Tomatoes (Not Drained)
1 (8oz) Can Of Tomato Sauce
3 1/2 C Chicken Or Vegetable Broth
1 Can (10-12oz) Kidney Beans, Drained
Salt And Pepper To Taste

(Tortellini As Prepared Above)


Prepare Your Tortellini

 1. On a clean surface make a well with the flour. In a medium bowl combine eggs, water, oil, and salt. Pour the wet mixture into the flour well and mix with your 2 fingers until all is combined. Do not get discouraged if the mixture becomes sticky- continue in a kneading motion until most of the flour is incorporated- do not force the dough to take all of the flour if it becomes rubbery or stiff.

2. Knead the dough on a floured surface for 8-10 minutes, or until dough becomes warm and pliable- it will still 'spring' back when over stretched, but should be malleable enough to roll. Roll your pasta out to 1/8" and cut into 4" round discs. Set aside in a bowl covered loosely by a damp towel.

3. Prepare your filling by combining all ingredients except egg wash. Working 1 at a time place 1/4 TSP filling in the center of each pasta disc. Brush egg was on the bottom half/edge of the pasta and fold the disc down over the filling to make a semi-circle. Pinching the corners, fold them in towards the center so that the outer edge crates a lip. Tuck the corners into the middle and set aside in a bowl covered loosely by a damp towel. Refrigerate until ready to cook.

Make The Minestrone

1. Heat olive oil over medium heat in a large pot. Add the onion and cook 3-5 MINS, or until onion is translucent. Add the carrots and celery and continue to cook another 3-5 MINS. Season all generously with salt and pepper.

2. Add the garlic and cook 1-2 minutes or until translucent and highly aromatic.

3. Add the can of tomatoes, tomato sauce, and broth into the pot, bringing the mixture to a simmer. Cook for 15 minutes. 

4. Add the zucchini and beans, turning the heat up to high and cooking until the soup begins to boil. Add the tortellini and allow to simmer for 5-7 minutes, until pasta is fully cooked and tortellini begin to float. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve and enjoy!


  1. Well there you go! Good job! Don't let those shows mess with your head. You can always adjust your dough - or your final product. I've ended up with a dryer dough than I intended so I just went and made noodles instead and improvised. It's the fun of being a cook! And trust me - souffles are very, very easy. Whip and fold. Whip and fold. That's all there is to them.
    Glad you are feeling better.
    With my mother it was always, "everything happens for a reason"

  2. I love minestrone. It's one of my favorite soups. I've never tried adding tortellini in it though. Yum.

  3. Oh my goodness, now this recipe looks amazing. I have never made homemade tortellini and this soup sounds perfect. I want to make it RIGHT now... Yummy!

  4. Truly Jenna, you are a wizard at food crafting. I think if the right person saw your work you'd be hired for all the big shows. You inspire me to eat if not cook with your wonderful creative.
    Also, I am glad that you can hear your mom's voice and that the right attitude seems to be reappearing. The Positive one. Blessings to you.

  5. Ummm, these look incredible! I bet they taste even better. I am a kind of afraid of making my own but, I bet they taste even better than store bought.

  6. I am from a big Italian family and I only ate homemade pasta growing up. There is truly nothing like it.

  7. I think this sounds like a fun recipe to try out! I've never made tortellini before so it's a project day task. I bet this Minestrone is going to be delish!

  8. I actually love minestrone soup. My dad always makes it but he never knows how he makes it he just sort of throws it together. I need a recipe so now that I've got one I'm going to try this.

  9. omg this post is amazing. they way you captured the photos are amazing. wow

  10. Your pictures are always stunningly beautiful. I can relate to bad things that just seem to stack up but try to keep your head will emerge victoriously.

  11. Life has been hitting us pretty hard lately as well. Soup always makes things better.

  12. Oh my. This looks incredible I would love to make this. My whole family would really enjoy this no doubt. It looks delicious! - Jeanine

  13. WOW!I bet this tastes even better than it looks (and it looks divine). I love minestrone, need to try this!

  14. These sound so scrumptious! I cannot wait to try this out! I love your photos and your blog btw.

  15. Wow! This looks amazing! I love a good soup recipe. I will definitely be trying this one out.

  16. Yum, that looks absolutely delicious! I've bought tortellini and minestrone but neither the two together...or homemade. I'd love to try this!

  17. This looks like a delicious recipe. I would love to give it a try this weekend. I will have to get the ingredients i need to make it.

  18. I have never tried to make homemade tortellini before. This recipe looks so delicious. I wish i could try it right now.

  19. This recipe sounds so delicious. The instructions you gave here make it seem possible for anyone to make it.

  20. First, thanks for sharing the recipe. Second, thanks (not) for making me crave soup in the middle of the night. Three, I'll share my address so you can send me a bowl! Your photos are beautiful!

  21. Oh my goodness, I'm sure my family would love this.

  22. I love that your mom's words made such a difference in your frame of mind. Also, this soup is wowza and your photographs are gorgeous!

  23. Okay, despite how incredibly delicious this looks... can I just talk about how impressive your food photography is?! I'm in the food photography business myself and I can't help but drop my jaw at how delightful your work is!

    Lisa Favre

  24. This looks delicious! I just might make it this weekend. Yum!