what’s for dinner? winter minestrone soup. yum.

I love {love, love, love} a minestrone soup that is heavy on the veggies and light on the salt. If I had to choose, sweets before salt, hands down. I have made my poor husband and kids try upwards of six different minestrone recipes until I landed on the perfect one. For you, the perfect one. Trust me, we have taste tested them all and this is a total winner. Did I create it on my own? Heavens, no. My dear friend and cooking confidante, Ina Garten {barefoot contessa} did the footwork for me. She is truly brilliant. I kind of want to be her.

Before I share my to die for soup I have to give my lady, barefoot contessa, a little shout out. If you want a fail safe recipe she is your girl. I literally have all of her cookbooks and they are amaze-ing. Most of our meals come from this brilliant gal and her plethora of wisdom in the kitchen. Not one is my favorite as they are all special on their own. But, if you don’t have her cookbooks you are missing out. Find out more by visiting her site and checking out her little treasures.

barefoot contessa

{winter minestrone soup.}
compliments of Ina Garten and her Foolproof Barefoot Contessa Cookbook

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{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
  • 1 (26-ounce) can or box diced tomatoes, such as Pomi
  • 6 to 8 cups chicken stock
  • 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 ditalini
  • 8 to 10 ounces fresh baby spinach leaves
  • 1/2 cup good dry white wine
  • 2 tablespoons store-bought pesto
  • Grated Parmesan, for serving

{cook it up.}

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 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 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.

Just before serving, reheat the soup, add the spinach, and toss with 2 big spoons (like tossing a salad). 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 large shallow bowls of soup with a bruschetta on top. Sprinkled with Parmesan cheese, drizzle with olive oil and serve hot.

Serve with Toasted Baquettes or Garlic Brushetta. Something crusty to dip in the soup is always a crowd pleaser.

Ladle. Serve. Eat.

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Nothing better than a soup that you know is helping you get your daily dose of vegetables AND it tastes delish. You have my word, it will be a crowd pleaser. Give it a try. You just might fall in love too.

eat. enjoy. share.

Letter J  XO

4 Responses to what’s for dinner? winter minestrone soup. yum.

  1. Misty February 25, 2014 at 8:59 am #

    Super yummy! Glad we got to enjoy some 🙂

  2. lmgregs17@hotmail.com February 26, 2014 at 4:24 pm #

    You made this for me circa 2009. I love it. I make it still. YUM.

  3. Sonali February 28, 2014 at 11:10 am #

    Going to make this week! BTW, your pictures are amazing.

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