Wednesday, January 8

Winter Vegetable Minestrone

A winter spin on the classic Italian vegetable soup

Winter Vegetable Minestrone

January really epitomizes winter for me. The days are short, the weather is cold, and I generally like to stay at home in something cozy as often as possible. In other words, it's an ideal soup month. This minestrone is a hearty winter take on the classic Italian vegetable soup that's inspired by similar recipes I saw from the Barefoot Contessa, Giada DeLaurentiis, and Martha Stewart. It's full of big sturdy vegetables - carrots, kale, butternut squash, and others - and studded with tender borlotti beans. It's not a brothy soup (the tomatoey stock is delicious, though), but more of a chunky vegetable and bean stew. The minestrone is filling enough to stand alone as a meal, although a nice piece of garlic-rubbed toast is an excellent addition. Leftovers keep well but the broth tends to thicken up slightly as it sits in the fridge.

Related Recipes:
- Minestrone with Cheese Tortellini & Pesto
- Lentil, Sausage, & Kale Soup
- Tomato Soup

Winter Vegetable Minestrone:
  • Largely dice 3 stalks of celery, 3-4 carrots, 1 small butternut squash, 1 large Yukon Gold potato, and 1 yellow onion.
  • Heat 2 tbsp. of olive oil in a large heavy pot over medium-high heat.
  • Add in the vegetables and a large pinch of salt and pepper and cook for 8-10 minutes, or until the onion is soft and translucent.
  • Add in 3 cloves of minced garlic during the last 2-3 minutes of cooking.
  • Pour in 6 c. of vegetable or chicken stock and 12 oz. of canned crushed tomatoes and stir the bottom of the pot to scrape any brown bits.
  • Add in the rind from a wedge of Parmesan cheese* and bring to a heavy simmer.
  • Cook for 20-30 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender, then remove the Parmesan rind.
  • Remove the ribs from 1 bunch of Tuscan kale and then thinly slice it into ribbons.
  • Stir the kale and 2 1/2 c. cooked beans** into the soup.
  • Cook for 2 minutes, or until kale has wilted, then check seasonings and adjust salt and pepper as necessary.
  • Ladle soup into bowls and top with a sprinkle of grated Parmesan cheese.

Serves six
*I keep old Parmesan rinds in the freezer. They add a great salty umami flavor to soups.
**I used cooked borlotti beans (also known as cranberry beans), but cannellini beans would work well too.