Heat a large saucepan over high heat. Add the olive oil and, when hot, add the onion, celery, and carrots. Saute until soft, about 4 minutes.
Add the garlic, Italian Essence, and crushed red pepper and saute for 2 more minutes.
Add the chicken broth and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce the heat to medium-low, and simmer for 20 minutes.
Add the tortellini and cook for 5 minutes if using fresh; 15 minutes if using dried. The pasta should be al dente (see sidebar below).
Stir in the parsley, taste, and adjust the seasoning if necessary. Remove from heat and ladle into soup bowls.
Garnish each bowl with one tablespoon of the cheese. Serve immediately.
YIELD: 2 quarts, serving 6 to 8