Hands down – this has got to be my favorite soup recipe of all time! I never get sick of it and it is absolutely a go-to when entertaining guests, especially as paired alongside a fresh loaf of Italian bread! It ALWAYS gets rave reviews.
It’s thick, it’s hearty, it’s healthy yet comforting – it’s everything a cool-weather soup ought to be. There’s just nothing like throwing my cast iron Dutch oven on the stove and cooking up a pot of this delectably savory soup when the weather cools down. Seriously… let me just shut my mouth right here so you can get to filling yours with this delicious dish.
This one always gets rave reviews and is actually my favorite minestrone recipe altogether. Set this out with a warm loaf of bread and you’ve already set the stage for an exquisite meal!
- 1-2 tbsp Good Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 1½ cups Yellow Onion Chopped
- 2 cups Carrots 1/2-inch-diced/about 3 carrots
- 2 cups Celery 1/2-inch-diced/about 3 stalks
- 2½ cups Butternut Squash peeled and 1/2-inch-diced (bigger chunks are okay too)
- 1½ tablespoons Garlic about 4 cloves, minced
- 2 teaspoons Chopped Fresh Thyme Leaves OR 1 tsp Dried Thyme Leaves
- 1 can Diced Tomatoes, such as Pomi (26-ounce can)
- 8 cups Vegetable Broth preferably homemade
- 1 Large Bay Leaf
- Sea Salt and Freshly Ground Black Pepper to taste
- 1 can Cannellini Beans, drained and rinsed (may sub Kidney Beans) (15-ounce can)
- 2 cups Cooked Pasta such as Tubetti or Chiocciole (or whatever suits your fancy)
- 8-10 ounces Fresh Baby Spinach
- ½ cup Good Dry White Wine Adds a negligible amount of alcohol. Part of original recipe. May sub with non-alcoholic or omit entirely
- 2 tablespoons Pesto OR 1 tbsp Dried Basil
- ½ cup Sun-Dried Tomatoes, chopped Optional: Add another dimension of flavor
- Freshly grated Asiago or Parmesan cheese for serving (optional)
For the Garlic Bruschetta
- 1 Baguette cut into thin slices
- Good Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 1 clove Garlic Cut in half lengthwise
- Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat in a large, heavy pot or Dutch oven. 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, vegetable broth, the bay leaf, a strong pinch of sea salt, fresh cracked pepper and optional sun-dried tomatoes to the pot. *If using dried basil instead of pesto, add it here as well.
- Bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer covered for about 20 minutes or until the vegetables are tender.
- Discard the bay leaf. Add the beans and cooked pasta and heat through. Your kitchen should be smelling fantastic by now.
- Just before serving, add the spinach to the hot soup, and stir in. Cover and let set 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.
- Sprinkled with fresh grated cheese, drizzle with lightly with Extra Virgin Olive Oil and serve hot.
For the Garlic Bruschetta
- 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 6 minutes or until lightly toasted.
- Remove slices from oven and rub the surface of each one with the cut clove of garlic.
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