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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.
Prep Time30 mins
Cook Time1 hr
Course: Main Course, Soup
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Barefoot Contessa, bruschetta, butternut squash, cannellini beans, cooked pasta, Ina Garten, minestrone soup, pancetta, soup
Servings: 8

Ingredients

  • Good olive oil
  • 4 ounces pancetta 1/2-inch-diced
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped yellow onions
  • 2 cups 1/2-inch-diced carrots (3 carrots)
  • 2 cups 1/2-inch-diced celery (3 stalks)
  • 2 1/2 cups 1/2-inch-diced peeled butternut squash
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons minced garlic 4 cloves
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme leaves
  • One 26-ounce can or box diced tomatoes such as Pomi
  • 6 to 8 cups chicken stock preferably homemade
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 15-ounce can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 cups cooked small pasta such as tubetti (I used Pipette)
  • 6 oz. package of baby spinach
  • 1/2 cup good dry white wine
  • 2 tablespoons store-bought pesto + more for serving
  • Freshly grated Parmesan cheese for serving

Garlic Bruschetta, recipe follows

  • Freshly grated Parmesan cheese for serving
  • Garlic Bruschetta
  • 1 French baguette
  • Good olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic cut in half lengthwise

Instructions

  • Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat in a large, heavy pot or Dutch oven.
  • Add pancetta and cook over medium-low heat for 6 to 8 minutes, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned.
  • Add 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 tomatoes, 6 cups of the chicken stock, the bay leaf, 1 tablespoon salt, and 1 1/2 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 bay leaf. Add beans and cooked pasta and heat through.
  • The soup will be thick but if too thick, add more chicken stock.
  • Just before serving, reheat the soup, add the spinach ans stir. 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.
  • Serve with bruschetta on top, sprinkled with Parmesan cheese, drizzle with olive oil and serve hot.

Garlic Bruschetta

  • Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
  • Slice the baguette at a 45 degree angle in 1/2-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.

Notes

  • I used pancetta that was already cubed and closer to 1/4 inch dice, 1/2 inch diced would be better.
  • For a time saver, use cubed butternut squash, available in most grocery stores.
  • To reseason soup before serving, add a healthy teaspoon of pesto to each bowl.