A bag of fresh tortellini is a standard weekday rescue dish. But instead of cooking it in water, try cooking it directly in a simple tomato broth or soup. It gives the pasta a lot more flavour and saves on dishes. Our kids love it like this so hopefully yours will too.


  • 2tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion peeled and finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves peeled and finely chopped
  • 2tbsp tomato puree (paste)
  • 1tsp paprika
  • 2 carrots tops removed and peeled
  • 2 celery stalks trimmed and rinsed
  • 400g tin chopped tomatoes
  • 1l good-quality vegetable stock
  • 250g packet good-quality fresh tortellini of choice1 handful of basil, leaves only
  • 1 handful of basil, leaves only
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

To serve

  • grated parmesan
  • microgreens or sprouts
  • extra virgin olive oil


  • STEP 1

    Heat the oil in a large lidded saucepan and saute the onion and garlic with the tomato puree and paprika over a medium-low heat for 5 minutes, or until the onion begins to soften.

  • STEP 2

    Cut the carrots and celery into bite-size pieces, add them to the pan and saute for a further 5 minutes, or until the onion has softened.

  • STEP 3

    Add the tomatoes and stock to the pan, season to taste with salt and pepper and bring to the boil.

  • STEP 4

    Reduce the heat and simmer with the lid ajar for 15 minutes, or until the vegetables are cooked.

  • STEP 5

    Add the tortellini to the pan and cook according to the packet instructions, before stirring through the basil.

  • STEP 6

    Serve hot topped with a sprinkling of Parmesan, some micro greens and a drizzle of oil.

Adult upgrade: If you’re not a fan of tortellini, serve the soup over cooked quinoa and kale instead, or over chickpeas (garbanzos) and burrata/mozzarella.

A helping hand: Let the little ones help by peeling the carrots and chopping the celery into bite-size pieces with a kid-friendly knife. They can be in charge of stirring the broth and finishing the dish with a grating of Parmesan.


LITTLE GREEN KITCHEN: Simple vegetarian family recipes by David Frenkiel and Luise Vindahl (Hardie Grant, £22.00)