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Winter Minestrone

2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
3 ounces pancetta, diced
1 onion, chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped (about 1 ½ cups)
2 carrots, chopped (about 1 ½ cups)
2 cups butternut squash, chopped (½ inch cubes)
1½ tablespoons minced garlic (4 cloves)
¼ to ½ cup dry white wine
28 ounces canned chopped/crushed tomatoes
6 to 8 cups chicken stock (beef broth works very well too)
1 (1-ounce) Parmesan rind
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon thyme
1 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon basil
1 fresh rosemary sprigs (or Italian seasoning)
1 bay leaf
15-ounce can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
¾ cup dry tube pasta, like macaroni or ditalini, cooked & drained (about 1 ½ cups cooked)
6-8 ounces baby spinach
1 cup (4 ounces) grated Parmesan cheese
Fresh chopped parsley.

Note: This works well with heartier greens, like Swiss Chard. Trim the stems and leaves sliced. Add these greens earlier in the soup, when you add the tomatoes.

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 wine and scrape the bottom of the pan.

Optional: Add half of the tomatoes, half of the beans, and 1 cup of stock to a blender and puree.

Add the tomatoes, 6 cups of the chicken stock, the bay leaf, parmesan rind, salt & pepper, crushed red pepper, and herbs 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, rosemary stems, and rind. Add the beans and cooked pasta and heat through, about 2 minutes. This is a thick soup, but if too thick adjust with extra stock. Just before serving, stir in the spinach and cook just until the leaves are wilted. Check for salt and pepper seasoning. Serve with grated Parmigiano cheese and parsley.

Published inRecipesSoups