Lucky me, I grew up with both Italian and Mexican step-grandmothers who loved, loved to cook and feed their large families delicious home-cooked meals. Both grandmas (I never thought of them as “steps” would not let you leave their house without something yummy to eat. My grandma Annette, was a second generation Italian and cooked everything from scratch. Even in her later years, when she was blind she still managed to make her own pasta, and fill our tummies with her delicious cooking. I was really close to grandma Annette, for some reason I was the only grandchild that enjoyed going to Catholic (in latin) church with her every Sunday. I am not Catholic, but something about the ritual and ceremony of Sunday Mass resonated with me as a child and teen.
I wish I had some of her recipes written somewhere, but alas we never thought to jot them down and now she has passed away. So this recipe is inspired by a warm and hearty soup she used to serve to us on Sunday’s. It is a chunky soup filled with fresh vegetables and cheese filled tortellini pasta swimming around in a tomato based broth that hits the spot! I like to eat my soup with a healthy grating of Pecorino Romano cheese and a thick slice of crusty Italian bread.
I think my rendition actually did the memory of grandma’s soup justice and tasted pretty much how I remember it. Even though this is cooked in the crock-pot, the vegetables held up nicely and were still fresh tasting. They key is to not to cook it too long in the slow cooker. Just long enough to meld the flavors, soften the vegetables a bit, then near the end to cook the store-bought tortellini pasta. My entire family liked it too. Even the kids raved about it. My son, 8, has recently become a picky eater and is on a meat strike, but even he ate an entire bowl full! That spells success in my book!
If you try this recipe, please come back and let me know what you think!
Crock-Pot Tortellini Soup
1 Medium Green Bell Pepper, Chopped
1 Cup Yellow Onion, Chopped
2 Teaspoons Minced Garlic
2 Tablespoons Tomato Paste
1 (8 Oz.) Can Tomato Sauce
2 (14.5 Oz.) Cans Crushed Tomatoes
1 Teaspoon Dried Oregano
1 Teaspoon Dried Basil
3 (14 Oz.) Cans Chicken Broth
1 Lb. Sweet Italian Sausage, Browned, Lightly Crumbled, Drained
1 Cup Carrots, Sliced And Quickly Cooked In The Microwave For 3 Minutes
1 Medium Zucchini, Quartered Lengthwise, Then Sliced
2 (9 Oz.) Packages Cheese Tortellini
- In a large (I used 6 quart) crock-pot add all ingredients except tortellini.
- Stir to combine.
- Cover crock-pot and cook on high 4 hours.
- Add tortellini, stir, cover and cook an extra 30 minutes.
Serve with grated Parmesan or Romano cheese sprinkled on top of soup and fresh crusty Italian bread for sopping up the broth.
To make a vegetarian version omit the sausage and maybe add some canned beans and use vegetable broth!
Nutritional information is based on soup alone, not the bread or cheese.
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