Winter Minestrone & Garlic Bruschetta


winter minestrone& garlic bruschettaThis 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.
Serves 6 to 8
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
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
1/2 cup good dry white wine
2 tablespoons store-bought pesto
Garlic Bruschetta (recipe follows)
Freshly grated Parmesan cheese, for serving


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.
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 for6 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 table-spoon 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.Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese, drizzle with olive oil, and serve hot.


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 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.
Copyright © 2012 Ina Garten.


Barefoot Contessa Foolproof: Recipes You Can Trust by Ina Garten

Published: Oct 30, 2012 by Clarkson Potter
ISBN: 9780307464873
Price: $40.00

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Lindsey Reeder is slowly learning how to navigate her way around the kitchen. It only made sense that she would choose a career in book publishing with a last name like Reeder. As a Coordinator in the Online Marketing at Random House of Canada, Lindsey spends her days tweeting and blogging about books that make her laugh, make her cry and everything in between. Follow Lindsey on Twitter at @reederreads or @RandomHouseCA.

62 Responses to “Winter Minestrone & Garlic Bruschetta”

  1. kdiener
    November 12, 2012 at 2:45 am #

    Just made this recipe today. It is delicious and as the Contessa says “fool proof” Her new
    cookbook, “FOOLPROOF”, is also good.

    • Cassandra
      November 12, 2012 at 2:29 pm #

      Fantastic!!! So glad to hear it turned out to be fool proof AND delicious. :)

  2. Amy
    November 14, 2012 at 12:40 am #

    Made this tonight and subbed turkey bacon for the pancetta. It turned out A-Mazing!! My 16 year old, McDonald’s loving, son, loved it as well. Will definitely make this again and again :)

    • Cassandra
      November 14, 2012 at 7:26 pm #

      Amazing, Amy!! That is so great to hear that your teenage son loved it too. Looks like this one is a keeper! :)

    • FeMcB
      January 12, 2013 at 5:58 pm #

      So glad to hear that it worked well with turkey bacon subbed in. I can’t eat pork as it makes me violently ill, so hearing that it worked well with the t.bacon makes me so happy! thanks for posting your reply.

      • Cassandra
        January 14, 2013 at 8:14 pm #

        I’ve found that most recipes work really well with either turkey bacon or chicken bacon substituted. Great to hear this one is no different!

  3. Dina
    November 19, 2012 at 2:40 am #

    Is there something else you can use if you don’t have a dutch oven?

    • Cassandra
      November 19, 2012 at 7:07 pm #

      Hi Dina,
      Any heavy stock pot will work fine for this recipe. I don’t have a dutch oven either, so I use a big soup pot.

      Hope that helps!

  4. Dana
    November 24, 2012 at 10:03 pm #

    I just made a vegan version of this and it turned out great! Substitute vegan sundries tomato sausage for the pancetta and vegetable broth instead of chicken broth. If you’re a vegetarian this does the trick! Tastes great and really hearty!

  5. December 19, 2012 at 8:38 am #

    Love a good minestrone!

  6. December 24, 2012 at 10:40 am #

    My whole family loved this!! It was perfect on a cold winters day!!!

  7. Tami
    January 1, 2013 at 11:18 pm #

    Just made this and it was a hit!! Soooo good – didn’t change a thing.

  8. Paige
    January 2, 2013 at 12:05 am #

    Found this on Pinterest- made very few adjustments for what we had in the house. Biggest difference- we don’t eat pork, so we left out the pancetta. Homemade chicken broth and garden/fresh oregano are a must. Definitely a pin win! :)

  9. Glblgal
    January 3, 2013 at 3:54 am #

    OMG, lovely recipe! I did Turkey Bacon instead of Panchetta like someone suggested. I’m not a great cook, nor am I good at dicing things, but this was so worth the effort! Thank you for sharing this wonderful soup!

  10. January 6, 2013 at 4:05 pm #

    Looks delish. I’m going to make it next month for my parenting group. Wish there was a way to easily print out the recipe, though.

  11. Dianne
    January 6, 2013 at 11:47 pm #

    Made this for dinner tonight. Sooooo good and super easy. I made the pasta and added the soup to that so I could freeze the remaining minestrone in batches.

  12. January 13, 2013 at 9:04 am #

    I decided to make this over the weekend as I had a husband with ‘man-flu’ and figured a bit of kitchen time would be my salvation. What a delicious, hearty soup. The ticket for cold dark winter days. I will definitely be making it again!

    • Cassandra
      January 14, 2013 at 8:13 pm #

      Hey, if you can please a guy with “man-flu” with this recipe, then it’s definitely a keeper!

  13. January 13, 2013 at 8:47 pm #

    I made this last weekend, it was so good! Worth the chopping!

  14. joe
    January 14, 2013 at 12:34 am #

    i substituted 16 bean mix and ham (didn’t have the pancetta or white beans in), and this soup was really delicious, definitely make again…and again lol thanks

  15. February 26, 2013 at 5:35 am #

    Check out my latest post about comfort foods where I include this recipe!

    whitney goller

  16. August 3, 2013 at 1:37 am #

    Tried it today. What a wonderful taste!

    Try serving with some cold fat milk =)

  17. Krissy
    September 9, 2013 at 2:22 pm #

    For the can of tomatoes, do u leave the juice in or drain? Thanks!

    • Cassandra
      September 10, 2013 at 1:49 pm #

      Hi Krissy – We leave the juice in.

  18. Katie
    September 30, 2013 at 1:27 am #

    This soup is AMAZING!!! My grocery store does not carry pancetta unfortunately, but I used ground pork instead and it was delicious! Since it’s cold 9 months out of the year in ND, I will be making this a lot!

    • Jessica
      September 30, 2013 at 1:10 pm #

      Sounds delicious!

  19. Audrey
    October 13, 2013 at 7:54 pm #

    Making this today, smells delicious. I think I’ll leave it sit overnight and add the pasta and the spinach tomorrow before eating. Then leftovers will go to the freezer for the cold and blustery nights we have coming our way in northeast WI…

  20. Diane cooper
    November 5, 2013 at 2:42 am #

    Made this tonight… Delicious!!! I increased the amount of pesto ( my home made stuff!), and used a mix of spinach, chard, kale, as I had that on hand. Will definitely be making this again!!!

  21. Susan
    November 7, 2013 at 10:20 am #

    3 1/2 hours later. Just a warning to others and myself, if I decide to make this again. There is a TON and I mean, a TON of chopping. Then ya chop the french bread, geez! The flavor is great, of course, I knew it would be great. But anither thing, it was quite exoensive to make. Though to make up for that, my dutch oven was to brimming, which I love. Leftovers for a long time. Some changes I would make, more notes to myself; I made this with GF noodles and I would get the cheapest GF noodles, I used shell, some italian brand and Ive used the cheaper ones, no difference. I would not go tot he trouble of making the brushetta, what a pain, no offense. I would make a GF french loaf and butter it, then watm in the oven and serve on the side. With the noodles, too much bready. I love the Pome tomatoes, that was a new one, found them at Whole Foods, it impossible to find citric acid free tomatoes but these are! Citric Acid feeds candida. the Pancetta was very expensive but really made a difference. What really tied me down was wrestling with the butternut squash. I had never dealt with one before so i had to youtube how to cut it, pitb! Do they make precubed butternut squash? I had to buy premade pesto so that was costly also. It took two boxes of chick broth. I use the yeast/GF so that was lieka nother $7. I also happened to be out of wine so that added on. If I had, had soem on hand, it would have helped. This was a challenging recipe for me, the most challemging recipe I’ve made in my 25 years and Ive made GF bread from scratch and numerous other complex recipes butt his takes the cake. Maybe tomorrow after ive rested, Ill feel better about the experience and think of ways to shorten it. Im not aure it was worth the effort. any suggestions on how to “cut” the pre time, mainly the chopping did me in. Maybe a new knife or a video on how to chop things faster, idk? lol. thanks for the recipe!

    • margie
      January 2, 2014 at 1:21 pm #

      I use frozen butternut squash that is already cubed!

  22. Heather
    November 16, 2013 at 6:02 am #

    This was delicious and so easy! Yeah it is a lot of chopping, but most recipes with lots of vegetables require a lot of chopping. Definitely worth the effort! I haven’t had much luck making soups before, usually they comes out boring and watery. But this recipe was great, I love the pesto. It seems really versatile. I think I will use it as a base and change the vegetables to make other soups. It would also be easy to make a vegan version.

  23. Tiffany
    December 17, 2013 at 9:38 pm #

    I’ve made a bunch of soups this winter and this just takes home the prize for my favorite! We have a dairy allergy so we left out pesto and cheese and it was still amazing. My mom soup son who is 3 by the went back for 3rds!

  24. Keri
    January 7, 2014 at 9:44 pm #

    I’m making this tomorrow and am curious as to what type of wine you used….

  25. Aleha
    January 14, 2014 at 8:38 pm #

    Love, love, love! Super easy! Going in my recipe book for sure!! I used more pesto and shell pasta instead and loved it!! Also, I left the wine out completely since I did not have any and it was still amazing! Will make again soon!


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