Monday, June 30, 2008

French Lentil Soup with Tortellini and Roasted Red Pepper Purée

Wow, the name of this dish is just way too long. It's difficult to know what to call it. Perhaps I'll just name it Stanley to make it easier on everyone.

It was time to start emptying the freezer and digging through the pantry. I found this to be a great soup to make with little odds and ends, and there are loads of variations. I was a little worried about serving soup in June (makes me think of cold weather) but it's nice and cool outside tonight; somehow this just worked.

1 onion, finely chopped
1-2 T olive oil or butter
1/2 c roasted red pepper purée (frozen leftovers from another dish)
1 T tomato paste (frozen remainder of a can I had to open for something else)
2-3 T pesto (frozen from the last time I made pesto)
2 c vegetable or chicken stock
2 c cooked French lentils (I cook a bunch at once, then freeze 2-cup portions in ziploc bags)
1 10-oz package tortellini (used the cheese variety from Trader Joe’s)
salt & pepper to taste
fresh basil, finely chopped
Parmesan cheese for serving

In the bottom of a large-ish soup pot, heat the olive oil or butter and cook onion until tender. Add the red pepper purée and tomato paste, then add stock and lentils. While this is simmering, cook the tortellini in a separate pot according to package directions (if you cook them in the soup itself, they'll absorb too much water).

When the tortellini are finished cooking, drain well then add to the main soup pot. Simmer just a couple minutes to acquaint the tortellini with the rest of its new family. Season with salt and pepper, stir in some fresh basil, and serve with a mound of Parmesan cheese on top.

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