Winter Minestrone Soup

Ina Garten’s Winter Minestrone. I can’t say enough good things about this soup recipe…foolproof, hearty, comforting, but the proof is in the bowl.


 From Barefoot Contessa Foolproof: Recipes You Can Trust, Ina Garten’s Winter Minestrone is not only foolproof, it is hearty, comforting, and the perfect soup for a cold winter day!

ina foolproof

 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.


Garlic Bruschetta

1 baguette

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.


C:\Users\Mary Mc\Downloads

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  45 comments for “Winter Minestrone Soup

  1. January 28, 2013 at 6:31 am

    I love soup and this soup looks wonderful, Mary. Now I am thinking of putting on a pot of soup, this morning.

  2. Zenda
    January 28, 2013 at 6:43 am

    I made this recipe yesterday, too. You’re right, this one is a keeper!!!

  3. January 28, 2013 at 7:16 am

    Thanks for the tips at the end. The white wine and pesto sounds sooooo good and I’ve never used either in minestrone.

  4. Gay
    January 28, 2013 at 7:28 am

    Yum, Mary. I do love cookbooks. You must have a terrific grocery store to find things precut.

  5. January 28, 2013 at 7:31 am

    I made a pot of veggie soup yesterday, but it doesn’t look or sound anywhere near as good as this..even though I used “good” olive oil. :)
    Yum..wish I had a bowl of that Winter Minestrone right now.

  6. January 28, 2013 at 7:34 am

    Hi Mary, We love all Ina’s cookbooks here, and when my daughter moved to an apartment in Boston last fall this is one she took! I’ll pass on your helpful hints. I cringe when I see the pesto needed–I made tons of it last fall but when we lost our power for two weeks from the hurricane/blizzard I was afraid to keep it. This recipe sounds so good. We are expecting snow and sleet today, and the minestrone would smell so good and warm us up! If I hurry out to the store now I can beat the bad weather! Linda

  7. January 28, 2013 at 7:59 am

    Mary, you have a way of making recipes I would normally never notice jump right on my to do list. This soup looks incredible! I have made enough Ina Garten recipes to definitely trust her, her recipes are always a great choice. I love to curl up with a good cookbook. Thanks

  8. January 28, 2013 at 8:21 am

    YUM! I love Ina!

  9. January 28, 2013 at 8:37 am

    A great hearty soup is always something I prefer over a “regular meal”…and I am fortunate that my hubby feels the same…I love the fact that it has butternut squash in it too…I do not have this recipe book…it would be perfect for me as it “foolproof”….my kind of cookbook!! This soup looks sooo good!!
    Have a wonderful week Mary!

  10. January 28, 2013 at 8:43 am

    Oh yummo. This is definately going to be a recipe I’ll be making.
    Thank you for all your tips and pix.
    xoxo Kathi

  11. January 28, 2013 at 9:21 am

    I, too, have very much enjoyed the recipes in her Foolproof cookbook! Pictures are gorgeous..and now, here it is 8:20.. I’m starving!! have a grand day.. xo marlis

  12. January 28, 2013 at 9:44 am

    Looks Delicious! Great for a family gathering in a cold day!Thank You for posting

  13. January 28, 2013 at 9:54 am

    Anything that is foolproof is for me!! This looks delicious. I will print this out as we LOVE soups in the winter. Thanks so much and have a GREAT day. XO, Pinky

  14. P Rezz
    January 28, 2013 at 12:18 pm

    I just made minestrone soup over the weekend. This recipe looks delicious and your photos, as always, are incredible. Thanks for always sharing your wonderful life, ideas, recipes, and photography.

  15. January 28, 2013 at 1:14 pm

    The soup looks so good that I am going to make some. Love her recipes. Your pictures are so great it’s like I’m right there. Thanks so much for sharing and have a SUPER week.

  16. January 28, 2013 at 1:51 pm

    This is certainly soup weather, even in Houston, and I like the idea of adding butternut squash to minestrone. Of course, I like butternut squash any way it is prepared.
    My goal this year is to better my food photography. Any hints?

    • January 28, 2013 at 6:06 pm

      Linda, Food photos are a challenge! Lighting is the most important, I use natural light from a window on the porch that comes from the side. I always take about 4 times as many photos than I think I need since things show up when you view them that you don’t see when photographing. There is some good information here.

  17. January 28, 2013 at 2:02 pm

    Made a pot of split pea last night. Definitely soup time with this overcast day. Yours looks delicious!

  18. r
    January 28, 2013 at 2:09 pm

    Wonderful photographs of some very delicious looking soup! And GOOD for you, too!
    Don’t you love the packages of cleaned, cubed butternut squash? Our Sams Club has started carrying it & I’ve bought several & frozen it in 2 person size increments. LOVE that stuff!

    Mary, you are the 3rd person that I’ve heard raving about Ina’s latest book. I just ordered it! Thanks!

    Warm Hugs,

  19. January 28, 2013 at 2:14 pm

    you made my mouth water… truly surprised, i thought only chocolate did that. i love the addition of squash, i have been using that like crazy the last 2 months, i love the ease of buying precut. a gorgeous recipe and photo session, thanks for the comfort food for my eyes… sending your box manana.

  20. January 28, 2013 at 2:36 pm

    I got this book for Christmas and I haven’t opened it yet but the soup looks fabulous. I just made a minestrone from Bon Apetite mag. and it was not good at all, it was nothing but cabbage, that’s all you tasted…Ina’s looks more like the soup I am used to eating…I also get very excited when I saw Ina and Jeffery were in Paris for New Years Eve the same time I was there…I would have fallen over if I had run into them…she is my hero and he’s pretty cute too :)

  21. January 28, 2013 at 3:16 pm

    Mary-That sounds like a wonderful soup! I noticed you said good olive oil. I think there are people that don’t know there is a difference but there sure is! xo Diana

  22. Happier Than A Pig in Mud
    January 28, 2013 at 6:09 pm

    This is my kind of soup! Love beans and the butternut squash sounds great! Lovin’ that pretty mint green cast iron pot too-enjoy:@)

  23. January 28, 2013 at 6:39 pm

    I love minestrone! Perfect conform food!

  24. January 28, 2013 at 6:40 pm


  25. January 28, 2013 at 8:13 pm

    This is my hubby’s favorite! I am drooling! Must get dinner! LOL! Thanks for sharing.

  26. Anita
    January 28, 2013 at 9:48 pm

    Oh my gosh… I saw this soup this morning and thought it looked delicious. I had to go out anyway, so I got the ingredients and made it tonight. A-MAZE-ING!!!!! Seriously, it was marvelous. I wasn’t sure how the squash would work, but it was delicious. I made a few adjustments: the pancetta was too fatty, so I subbed proscuitto, and I used mini-penne because I couldn’t find tubetti or pipette, dried thyme instead of fresh because the store was out. Next time I’ll add more pasta. And there will be many more next times. Thank you, Mary! And, of course, many thanks to Ina!

  27. January 29, 2013 at 9:06 am

    You do an amazing job of bringing a recipe to life!

    – The Tablescaper

  28. January 29, 2013 at 11:08 am

    I am making my grocery store list to get the ingredients for this delicious sounding soup. Hope I can find the precut butternut squash and pancetta. I love pictures of all the ingredients. That was so helpful. Thanks for the inspiration.

  29. January 29, 2013 at 3:18 pm

    I love a good minestrone soup and this looks like a wonderful recipe with lots of healthy veggies in it! I’ve never added butternut squash to minestrone before – love that idea. We’re going from a fluke high of 59 here today to a high of 17 on Thursday. Definitely still soup weather!! Can’t wait to try this.

  30. January 29, 2013 at 11:48 pm

    This looks fabulous and perfect for the very cold days that we have been having….I got the cookbook for Christmas and haven’t made anything as yet….the difficult decision has been made…this is the soup for me!!

  31. Rootz
    January 31, 2013 at 9:59 pm

    Absolutely delicious! Overall prep and cooking time 2.5 hours….had I prepped early in the day, less time. Perfect dinner for a Winter’s Eve.

  32. February 3, 2013 at 6:49 pm

    YUM! I love this sort of soup. But, truth… I usually get it at Olive Garden. Thanks for sharing the recipe!

  33. Jane
    January 17, 2014 at 6:00 am

    This looks so yummy can’t wait to try it. Thank you for sharing, love your blog :) x

  34. January 19, 2014 at 6:18 pm

    What a lovely soup. It’s been chilly here in FL the past few days. This soup would be perfect for dinner. Pinning and featuring on social media. Thanks so much for sharing at MM!

  35. January 19, 2014 at 8:15 pm

    I definitely need a bowl! I wasn’t a huge minestrone fan before, but your photos convinced me :-)
    Beth @ The First Year Blog

  36. January 21, 2014 at 8:42 pm

    This soup looks so comforting. With the snow falling in NYC tonight, I could definitely use a big bowl of it – thanks for sharing!

  37. Melissa Leach
    January 13, 2015 at 9:18 am

    Sounds wonderful and just what the doctor ordered. Please help, the print recipe page is not functioning!

    • January 13, 2015 at 9:28 am

      Hi Melissa, it is wonderful! I updated the link so you can print now from Food Network :)

  38. January 31, 2015 at 11:49 am

    They are predicting 6-10 inches for the Chicagoland area tonight through Monday. This soup will keep us warm! Now to get to the store ahead of the storm!

  39. linda kemp
    January 5, 2016 at 12:26 pm

    I love Ina’s recipes and have all her cookbooks. This looks fantastic!! I’m definitely going to make it this week.

  40. January 10, 2017 at 12:22 pm

    That looks fabulous Mary! It is soup season here. Thanks for sharing at Home Sweet Home.

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