I have been making this soup ever since 2002 when it was the Bon Appetit cover story.

I have made it for family. I have made it for friends. I have made it for church luncheons. It has always been a big hit!

Photo by Bruce Barone.


2 tablespoons olive oil
12 ounces fully cooked smoked kielbasa sausage, thinly sliced (I used turkey)
1 onion, chopped
1 cup chopped fresh fennel bulb
4 garlic gloves, minced
1 ½ tablespoons chopped fresh thyme
½ teaspoon dried crushed red pepper
10 cups canned low-salt chicken broth (I used my homemade stock.)
4 cups chopped kale (I used frozen)
1 15-ounce can cannellini (white kidney beans), rinsed, drained
1 9-ounce package cheese tortellini


Heat oil in heavy large pot over medium high heat. Add next 6 ingredients and saute until vegetables are soft and kielbasa is brown, about 12 minutes. Add broth and bring to boil. Stir in kale and cannellini. Reduce heat to low and simmer until kale is wilted, about 4 minutes. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Cool slightly; cover and refrigerate. Bring to simmer before continuing.) Add tortellini to soup. Simmer until pasta is just tender but still firm to bite, about 5 minutes. Ladle soup into bowls. Serve with Asiago cheese.
Veggie? Leave out kielbasa. Change stock.
Can also substitute small ravioli for tortellini.

Serve with some No-knead Rye Bread. You\’ll need to start this the day before. Here I am making my loft! The folding of the dough before the 2 hour rise (see recipe).

Self Portrait.

Bon Appetit!

Let me know if you make the soup or the no-knead bread.
I would love to hear from you!

If you want distinctive nature, documentary or portrait photography–photography with soul that inspires you to live a more artful and beautiful life, please contact me.


  1. this looks great! i love tortellini in soup maybe even more than i like them with sauce on a plate, as that's how my mother always served them when we were growing up. conveniently, i also love all of the other ingredients in this soup, too. i will absolutely be trying it – thanks!


  2. I have no plans for dinner tonight, so this is what we're having (except the bread… next time)! It looks and sounds delicious. I'll let you know how it turns out. Thank you for sharing it with us:).


  3. I made it last night, and it was as good as it looked!! And so simple as well… so simple, and hearty, but also light. Thank you for the recipe and inspiration! I will definitely make it again :).


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