minestrone soup to warm you up

bowl of minestrone soup with a slice of crusty bread

A steaming bowl of this traditional Italian vegetable and bean soup makes a comforting meal on a chilly day. Because the majority of the ingredients in this recipe are canned, I can wait until days into a trip to prepare minestrone soup. The aromatics (onion, carrots, and celery) keep for a long time with my other cooled vegetables. If I’ve remembered to pack the appropriate amount of dried pasta in a zippered bag, I’m most of the way there! Serve this improvisation-friendly soup with a dusting of grated Parmesan cheese. Perhaps a lightly toasted slice of crusty bread to soak up the delicious broth. If you want to make bread, I like to use Jim Lahey, owner of Sullivan Street Bakery’s no-knead bread recipe. I will often make minestrone soup in advance of a winter weekend afloat.

minestrone soup

Print Recipe
Serves: 8 Cooking Time: 1 hour

Ingredients

  • 6 slices thick-cut bacon
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 yellow onion, diced (about 2 cups)
  • 2 ribs celery, diced
  • 1 carrot, peeled and diced
  • 1 zucchini, diced (about 2 cups)
  • ½ pound green beans, trimmed (or use canned)
  • 8 cups chicken broth
  • 1 (28-ounce) can plum tomatoes
  • 1 (15-ounce) can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 1 tablespoon Italian herb blend
  • ½ teaspoon red chili flakes
  • 2 cups rigatoni or shell pasta
  • 5 ounces raw spinach leaves (about 6 cups, packed)
  • Parmesan cheese, for garnish

Instructions

1

Cook the bacon in a Dutch oven over medium heat for 8 to 10 minutes, or until crisp; remove and drain on paper towels, reserving 2 tablespoons of the drippings in the pot. Crumble the bacon.

2

Sauté the onion, celery, and carrots in the hot drippings over medium heat for 5 to 6 minutes, or until tender. Add the zucchini and green beans; cook for an additional 3 minutes.

3

Pour the chicken broth, canned tomatoes, and cannellini beans over the vegetables, then add the bay leaf, salt, pepper, Italian herbs, and chili flakes. Stir, then simmer for 20 minutes.

4

Boil 2 quarts of salted water and cook the pasta. Drain and add to the soup along with the spinach leaves and bacon crumbles. Cook for an additional 5 minutes. Garnish with a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese.

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