Winter Minestrone

This winter will never end. EVER. But luckily Ina Garten gave me this great winter soup. The butternut squash makes all the difference.

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  • olive oil
  • 4 ounces pancetta, ½-inch-diced (bacon in my case)
  • 1 ½ cups chopped yellow onions
  • 2 cups (½-inch-diced) carrots (3 carrots)
  • 2 cups (½-inch-diced) celery (3 stalks)
  • 2 ½ cups (½-inch-diced) peeled butternut squash
  • 1 ½ 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, preferably homemade
  • 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
  • 8 to 10 ounces fresh baby spinach leaves (I used kale!)
  • ½ cup good dry white wine
  • 2 tablespoons store-bought pesto (didn’t have it so skipped it–still good!)
  • Freshly grated Parmesan cheese, for serving
  1. 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, I add more chicken stock.
  2. 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.

YUM!

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