Winter Minestrone

Minestrone means “big soup.” It’s the most popular and recognizable Italian soup. It’s known as ”big soup” because well-made minestrone is thick and hearty. It originated in Northern Italy and, although there are many different versions of this soup, what they all have in common are cut up vegetables simmered for a long time in water or stock, and you end up with rich vegetable soup. For me there is nothing like a bowl of minestrone on a cold winter day.



Serves 4 to 6
Winter Minestrone
2 tablespoons olive oilolive oil2
1 onion, choppedonion1
2 carrots, peeled, choppedcarrots2
2 celery stalks, choppedcelery2
3 ounces thinly sliced pancetta, coarsely choppedpancetta3
2 garlic cloves, mincedgarlic clove2
1 pound Swiss chard, stems trimmed, leaves coarsely choppedswiss chard1
1 russet potato, peeled, cubedrusset potatoes1
1 (14 ½-ounce) can diced tomatoescan diced tomatoes14 ½
2 fresh rosemary sprigsfresh rosemary2
1 (15 ounce) can cannellini beans, drained, rinsedcan cannellini beans15
2 (14-ounce) cans low-sodium beef brothlow-sodium beef broth28
1 ounce piece Parmesan cheese rindparmesan cheese rind1
2 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian parsleyfresh italian parsley2


Winter Minestrone
Heat the oil in a heavy large pot over medium heat. Add the onion, carrots, celery,

pancetta, and garlic. Saute until the onion is translucent, about 10 minutes. Add the Swiss

chard and potato; saute for 2 minutes. Add the tomatoes and rosemary sprigs. Simmer

until the chard is wilted and the tomatoes break down, about 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, blend 3/4 cup of the beans with 1/4 cup of the broth in a processor until

almost smooth. Add the pureed bean mixture, remaining broth, and Parmesan cheese

rind to the vegetable mixture. Simmer until the potato pieces are tender, stirring

occasionally, about 15 minutes. Stir in the whole beans and parsley. Simmer until the

beans are heated through and the soup is thick, about 2 minutes. Season with salt and

pepper, to taste. Discard the rosemary sprigs (the leaves will have fallen off of the stem).

Ladle the soup into bowls and serve.

cook's notes

The leftovers of this soup can be used to make another Italian classic called Ribollita. For Ribollita, place a slice of crusty bread in each soup bowl and ladle the soup over the bread.
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