Words & Photography
by Jessica Godfrey
Cremini mushrooms are my favourite. While I like mixed wild mushrooms, creminis are perfect in their subtle earthy taste, especially when cooked with butter. However, I recently learned that there is little difference between cremini, portobello, and button mushrooms – they are the same, just at different ages. Button mushrooms, the kitchen staple, are the youngest of the bunch, with the portobellos being the oldest and have grown their meaty caps. Creminis are simply in the middle, older than the white button mushrooms, but younger than the portobellos. The more you know!
Thanks to their slightly more mature state, cremini mushrooms have a browner colour, firmer texture, and better flavour than their younger siblings. It’s because of this that I like to use them in pastas, stews, and soups like this one.
Please note that I have used dried tortellinis with a porcini filling here. You can use any tortellini you like, and omit the mushrooms entirely if you do not care for them. However, the cheese rind is the secret to this soup, so don’t miss it! Make sure you’re always saving the rinds of your Parmesan. They keep for a long time in the freezer, so you can always add them to a stock.
Tortellini Soup With Cremini Mushrooms & Kale
Yields: 2 to 3 servings
1 litre chicken stock (can substitute vegetable stock)
2 cups water
rind of Parmiggiano-Reggiano cheese
250g dried porcini tortellini
4 stalks of purple kale, trimmed from the tough stalk and ripped into pieces
3 oz. cremini mushrooms, washed and cut in half
2 tbsp. butter
bread, for serving
freshly ground pepper
1. In a large pot, add chicken stock, water, and the cheese rind, and bring to a boil.
2. When stock is beginning to boil, remove cheese rind and discard. Add dried tortellini, and follow package instructions. If using fresh tortellini, also follow package instructions.
3. After 10 to 12 minutes and the tortellini is almost finished cooking, add kale. Taste for seasoning – I added freshly ground pepper.
4. In a separate pan, melt butter over medium-high heat. Once butter begins to sizzle, add sliced mushrooms. Cook until golden, about 5 minutes.
5. Ladle the soup into bowls, and top with mushrooms. Top with more pepper and serve with fresh bread. Enjoy!