Soup is one of my favorite things to make, especially on a cold day. I love minestrone soup because it’s easy to make, healthy, and delicious. I found this recipe on the Food Network’s website, and immediately knew after reading it that it would be a keeper. And I was right- it really did live up to my expectations, and my husband said it was one of the best minestrone soups he’s had.
The pancetta gives the soup lots of flavor, and the vegetables make it healthy. The nice thing about minestrone is that you can add whatever vegetables you have on hand. I had planned on adding zucchini to the mix, but forgot to get it at the store, so I left it out.
This recipe is different than other minestrone soup recipes I have made because before adding the cannellini beans to the soup pot, they are pureed with broth. This gives the soup a wonderful creamy texture. My mini food processor worked great for pureeing the beans & broth, but you can also use a regular food processor or a blender.
Adapted from: Giada De Laurentiis
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 onion, chopped
- 3 carrots, peeled, chopped
- 2 celery stalks, chopped
- ¼ pound thinly sliced pancetta, coarsely chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 cup basil, chopped roughly
- 1 russet potato, peeled, cubed (small cubes)
- 1 (14 1/2-ounce) can diced tomatoes
- 1 fresh rosemary sprig or 2 tsp. dried rosemary
- 1 tsp. thyme
- 1 (15-ounce) can cannellini beans, drained & rinsed
- ½ can kidney beans, drained & rinsed
- 2 (14-ounce) cans low-sodium chicken broth
- ½ cup small shaped pasta (mini shells work well)
- ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian parsley leaves
- Salt and pepper
Heat the oil in a heavy large pot over medium heat. Add the onion, carrots, celery, pancetta, and garlic. Sauté until the onion is translucent, about 10 minutes. Add the potato; sauté for 2 minutes. Add the tomatoes, basil, thyme and rosemary. Simmer until the tomatoes break down, about 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, blend 3/4 cup of the cannellini beans with 1/4 cup of the broth in a processor until almost smooth. Add the pureed bean mixture, remaining broth, and Parmesan cheese to the vegetable mixture. Simmer until the potato pieces are tender, stirring occasionally (about 15 minutes).
After the soup has been simmering for about 5 minutes, add the dried pasta and stir to mix. Continue to let the pasta and potato cook for another 10 minutes or until the potato is tender and the pasta is almost fully cooked. Then stir in the rest of the cannellini beans, kidney beans, and parsley. Simmer until the beans are heated through, about 2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Discard the rosemary sprig, if fresh rosemary was used (the leaves will have fallen off of the stem.)
Ladle the soup into bowls and serve. Top with additional Parmesan cheese if desired.