Sweet Onion Soup With Fried Cheese Tortellini from chef and author Emeril Lagasse

Emeril Lagasse

On a recent flight I soon discovered the person sitting next to me was as much of a nut  about soup as I was. He was also a HUGE fan of Emeril Lagasse and went on to educate me that Emeril grew up in Fall River, MA, and gave up a scholarship at New England Conservatory of Music to pursue a career as a Chef. I think many would agree, we are glad he did! He also pinged me a soup recipe that he said, “rocked his soup boat!” Thank you Steve, from Tiverton, Rhode Island. Sweet onions, French bread, tortellini, and a delectable mixture of spices are combined in Emeril Lagasse’s recipe for Sweet Onion Soup with Fried Cheese Tortellini.

Emeril’s original recipe calls for Vidalia onions. Other varieties of sweet onions that you might try instead include Washington’s Walla Walla, Oso Sweet, Hawaii’s Maui, or Texas Sweets. If you cannot find any sweet onions, the standard yellow or white varieties work perfectly well, Emeril says.

Sweet Onion Soup With Fried Cheese Tortellini

Serves 6 to 8
Meal type Cheese, Chicken Broth, Tarragon, Tortellini
Season Fall, Spring
Recipe courtesy of Emeril Lagasse, copyright 2001, from Prime Time Emeril: More TV Dinners from America's Favorite Chef


  • 1/4 cup olive oil

  • 6 cups thinly sliced sweet onions

  • 2 teaspoons Emeril's Original Essence or Creole Seasoning

  • 1 teaspoon salt, or more to taste

  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, or more to taste

  • 2 bay leaves

  • 10 garlic cloves

  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh tarragon

  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano

  • 1 tablespoon fresh basil

  • 2 quarts chicken stock or canned low-sodium chicken broth

  • 2 cups diced day-old French bread (crusts removed), 1-inch cubes

  • 1/2 cup heavy cream

  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano

  • Vegetable oil for deep frying

  • 16 cheese tortellini, completely thawed if frozen

  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh flat-leaf parsley


1 Heat the olive oil in a large heavy pot over medium-high heat. Add the onions, 1 teaspoon of the Essence, the salt, pepper, and bay leaves.
2 Cook, stirring, until the onions are just golden, 15 minutes.
3 Add the garlic and stir for 1 minute. Add the tarragon, oregano, basil, and stock and bring to a boil.
4 Reduce the heat to medium-low. Simmer, uncovered, for 30 minutes.
5 Add the bread and cream. Increase the heat to medium-high and cook, whisking often, until the bread dissolves and the soup is thickened, about 10 minutes.
6 Remove and discard the bay leaves.
7 Using an immersion blender, or in batches in a food processor or blender, puree the soup.
8 Add the cheese and adjust the seasonings to taste. Cover and keep the soup warm over very low heat.
9 Pour enough oil into a deep heavy pot or electric deep fryer to come halfway up the sides and heat over medium-high heat to 360 degrees F.
10 In batches, carefully add the tortellini to the hot oil and deep-fry, turning frequently with a long-handled slotted spoon, until golden brown, 1-2 minutes
11 Remove with the slotted spoon and drain on paper towels. Season with the remaining 1 teaspoon of Essence.
12 Ladle the hot soup into bowls and garnish with the fried tortellini and parsley.

Recipe courtesy of Emeril Lagasse, copyright 2001, from Prime Time Emeril: More TV Dinners from America’s Favorite Chef

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