I borrowed this cookbook from my sister and devoured it over the weekend. My cookbooks runneth over, but the 150 mouth-watering color photos and the ‘Foolproof’ factor, makes it one I want at my fingertips and hard to resist!
With the pasta, beans, and spinach, I could eat this soup straight from the pot with some grated Parmesan cheese and crusty garlic bread to dunk!
Pesto is swirled into the pot at the end of the cooking time, and I might have been guilty of adding a teaspoon of pesto to our individual bowls :)
Good olive oil
4 ounces pancetta, ½-inch-diced*
1½ cups chopped yellow onions
2 cups (½-inch) diced carrots (3 carrots)*
2 cups (½-inch) diced celery (3 stalks)
2½ cups (½-inch) diced peeled butternut squash
1½ tablespoons minced garlic (4 cloves)
2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme leaves
26 ounces canned or boxed chopped tomatoes, such as Pomi
6 to 8 cups chicken stock, preferably homemade*
1 bay leaf
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 (15-ounce) can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed*
2 cups cooked small pasta, such as tubetti*
8 to 10 ounces fresh baby spinach leaves*
½ cup good dry white wine
2 tablespoons store-bought pesto*
Garlic Bruschetta (recipe follows)
Freshly grated Parmesan cheese, for serving
Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat in a large, heavy pot or Dutch oven. Add the pancetta and cook over medium-low heat for 6 to 8 minutes, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned.
Add the onions, carrots, celery, squash, garlic, and thyme and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, for 8 to 10 minutes, until the vegetables begin to soften.
Add the tomatoes, 6 cups of the chicken stock, the bay leaf, 1 tablespoon salt, and 1 ½ teaspoons pepper to the pot. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer uncovered for 30 minutes, until the vegetables are tender.
Discard the bay leaf. Add the beans and cooked pasta and heat through. The soup should be quite thick but if it’s too thick, add more chicken stock.
To cook the pasta, put 1 cup of pasta into a large pot of boiling salted water. Cook according to the directions on the package, drain, and set aside. You can make this soup ahead and reheat it before serving. It will need to be reseasoned.
Just before serving, reheat the soup, add the spinach, and toss. Cook just until the leaves are wilted. Stir in the white wine and pesto. Depending on the saltiness of the chicken stock, add another teaspoon or two of salt to taste.
Good olive oil
1 garlic clove, cut in half lengthwise
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
Slice the baguette at a 45-degree angle in inch-thick slices. Brush both sides of the bread with olive oil and bake for 6 minutes, until lightly toasted. Take the slices out of the oven and rub the surface of each one with the cut clove of garlic.
~I used pancetta that was already cubed and closer to 1/4 inch dice, 1/2 inch diced would be better.
~My carrots were small, I used five instead of three.
~I used precut butternut squash, the size that it came.
~I ended up using 8 cups of chicken stock.
~Next time I make the soup, I’ll use two cans of beans instead of one.
~I couldn’t find tubetti pasta, so I used Pipette.
~I used a 6 oz. package of baby spinach.
~To reseason the soup before serving, I added a healthy teaspoon of pesto to each bowl.
You can find a printable recipe of
Ina’s Winter Minestrone and Garlic Bruschetta, here.