Winter Minestrone with Garlic Toast

Although we’ve been having unseasonably warm weather lately here in California (it’s supposed to be in the 70’s all week!), it still gets chilly enough at night to enjoy a warm bowl of soup for dinner. I found this recipe while browsing through Pinterest for inspiration and have been meaning to make it for the longest time. I just wish I had made it sooner because it turned out simply delicious.

Tonight’s menu was a winter minestrone with crunchy garlic toast courtesy of Ina Garten. Any recipe that begins with bacon has to be good, and this one is no exception. It’s a thick and hearty soup full of veggies and the wonderful flavor of garlic and fresh herbs. The medley of ingredients in this soup not only makes every bite exciting, but it also brings a variety of nutrients to the dish. The butternut squash is an excellent source of Vitamins A and C, while the diced tomatoes are an excellent source of Vitamin C, and a good source of Vitamins A and K. The cannelloni beans bring protein and fiber to the soup and the garlic is a good source of antioxidants.

My favorite part about making a big pot of soup on the weekend is that I have delicious leftovers waiting and ready for me to enjoy all week long! Plus, it fills my apartment with the cozy smell of simmering soup for the evening. I hope this recipe inspires you to treat yourself to a delicious bowl of homemade soup, and maybe it will even inspire our much-needed cold and rainy winter weather to return!

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Winter Minestrone with Garlic Toast

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 ounces pancetta, diced in small pieces
  • 1 large yellow onion, chopped
  • 3 carrots, diced in 1/2 inch pieces
  • 3 celery stalks, diced in 1/2 inch pieces
  • 1/2 butternut squash, peeled and diced in 1/2 inch pieces
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves, chopped
  • 2 cans diced tomatoes (no salt added)
  • 6 cups chicken stock (low sodium)
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 can cennellini beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 cups cooked small pasta (I used macaroni, but any small kind will do)
  • 8 to 10 ounces baby spinach leaves
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 2 tablespoons pesto

Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat in a large pot. Add the pancetta and cook for 6-8 minutes until lightly browned. Add the onions, carrots, celery, squash, garlic, and thyme. Cook over medium heat for 8-10 minutes until the veggies begin to soften. Add the tomatoes, chicken stock, and salt and pepper to taste. Bring soup to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer uncovered for 30 minutes, until the veggies are tender. Add the beans, cooked pasta, and spinach, stirring until the leaves are wilted. Add the white wine and pesto. Serve hot with the garlic toast as a garnish.

Garlic Toast

  • 1 baguette (I used sourdough, but choose your favorite!)
  • Olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove, cut in half lengthwise

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit and line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Slice the baguette at an angle in 1/2 inch thick slices. Brush both sides of the bread with olive oil and bake for 8-10 minutes, until lightly toasted. Take the slices out of the oven and rub the surface of each one with the cut clove of garlic.

Original recipe: http://www.barefootcontessa.com/recipes.aspx?RecipeID=912&S=0s

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