Ina Garten's Winter Minestrone & Garlic Bruschetta

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Serves 6 to 8

This incredibly hearty winter soup falls somewhere between a soup and a stew.

The texture and flavor are amazing—it’s filled with chunky vegetables, pasta, beans, and spinach. Pesto and Parmesan swirled in at the end make it even better. I serve it in big shallow bowls with garlic bruschetta on top.

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 (page 62)

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 (see note)

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. 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. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese, drizzle with olive oil, and serve hot.


NOTE: 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.


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.

Reprinted from the book Barefoot Contessa Foolproof copyright © 2012 by Ina Garten.  Photograph copyright © 2012 by Quentin Bacon.  Published by Clarkson Potter, a division of Random House, Inc.


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Comments [7]

Chiara Klaiman from Ridgewood NY

This recipe is very good; it's foolproof because it actually tells you what size to 'dice' your vegetables. What a yummy way to kick off the colder months.

I have to comment though that Ina Garten is not a Chef. She's a TV personality (quite a good one too) and used to own a specialty foods store. She has never worked in a restaurant kitchen, let alone been a Chef.
'Chef' is a title that one has to earn; you don't just get to call yourself a Chef because you have a cooking show, or you write a cookbook.
I work as a line cook, and when non-restauarnt friends of mine refer to me as a Chef I correct them and tell them that I haven't earned that title yet. Even during weeks where I work more than 60 hours, my Chef works harder than I do.

All I ask is that we respect those individuals who are Chefs. It takes a lot of work to get there.

Ina Garten is a good cook and is very entertaining, but she is NOT a Chef.

Oct. 17 2013 02:46 AM
Phyllis from Scotch Plains, NJ

I cooked a huge pot of Ina's Minestrone soup just before Sandy hit. We are in an area of NJ that was hit hard by falling trees and downed wires and we didn't have power for 13 days. I have a gas cooktop and was able to feed the soup to several people in the neighborhood that first day. It's been my go to winter soup for a long time. Thanks, Ina.

Oct. 16 2013 09:02 AM

are there any special (tasty) tricks for preparing this as a vegetarian dish, other than simply leaving out the pancetta and substituting vegetable stock for chicken stock?

Oct. 16 2013 07:58 AM
Theresa Phelps from Saukville, Wisconsin

This recipe and many others can be found in Ina's "Foolproof" cookbook!! Excellent soup! Very hearty! Excellent flavor! Boosts the immune system!

Mar. 28 2013 03:13 AM

This is fabulous! Best soup I have ever made. Perfect for a cold winter afternoon! Thanks Ina

Mar. 19 2013 09:27 PM
Jane from Wellesley

Get a grill pan - I just did and it works great. I made the Foolproof swordfish the other night.

Jan. 20 2013 08:45 PM
melissa spitalnick from port washington ny

love everything Ina.... got the foolproof book for the holidays and disappointed in how many recipes call g
for a grill.. I live in an apt.. wish I would have known

Dec. 27 2012 02:07 PM

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