Sunday, March 20, 2011

My husband's leek-cutting skills
come in handy for terrific Tortellini Soup

My husband is an expert cleaner and cutter of leeks.
   “If you were a contestant on an Iron Chef episode that dealt only with cutting leeks, you’d win hands down,” I commented recently after watching him prepare one for a terrific soup (more on that below.)
   After cutting off the dark leafy portion of the leek, he cuts it open and swishes it around in cold water to get out all the dirt and crud.
   Then he chops it into perfect, small pieces. After cutting, he puts the leek pieces in melted butter in a saucepan, and their lovely oniony aroma fills the kitchen.
   Leeks have a lovely light oniony flavor too, which lent itself perfectly to Tortellini Soup with Carrots, Peas & Leeks (click for the recipe) from Fine Cooking magazine.
   The leek flavor is infused into the chicken broth, providing a perfect backdrop for the plump tortellini, peas and carrots.
   This family-friendly soup has a homestyle appeal that will have everyone spooning a second portion into their bowls.
   The recipe calls for frozen cheese tortellini. I was unable to find frozen, and so used fresh from the fresh pasta section of the supermarket. Because we used fresh, we used the lower cooking time of three minutes at the end of the recipe.
   The soup very easy to make.
   Leeks, garlic and carrot are cooked in melted butter in a large soup pot until tender, then prepared chicken broth is added and the soup brought to a boil.
   The tortellini is added and cooked in the soup for three minutes, then the heat is reduced to a simmer and frozen peas are stirred in, with a final three- to five-minute cooking time.
   The soup is served with freshly-grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese on top.

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