Winter Minestrone

by Anne Bennett on January 4, 2010

Here, as promised, is the beginning of what I hope will be a culinary plethora of soup recipes to start out the new year. The high in Kansas City today will be about 13 degrees F. Thus soup isn’t just nourishment; it’s a body warmer.

Giada De Laurentiis is not only the most beautiful cook on the Food Network. She’s also a very accomplished Italian chef. I’ve never tried a recipe of hers that wasn’t fabulous. Here is an adaptation of her winter minestrone soup. She sauteed 3 oz. of chopped pancetta with the onions, but I left it out because it’s difficult to find and adds extra fat which I’m trying to avoid right now ( ! ). If you’ve got some leftover holiday ham, you can chop some up and add it for a meatier flavor.

Swiss chard is becoming more of a staple in my soup repertoire. ┬áMy mother never cooked with it and so I didn’t either until about a year ago. It’s worth the effort of seeking it out. There are different varieties of chard, based on the color of its center stem. There’s the plain green, the red and the rainbow. Red chard is widely available, but any variety will do. Be sure to tear out the center stems before chopping the leaves, as the stems can be tough even when cooked.


1 T. olive oil
1 onion, chopped
2 carrots, peeled and chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 lb. Swiss Chard, tough center stems removed, leaves coarsely chopped
1 large russet potato, peeled and cubed
1 (14 1/2 oz.) can diced tomatoes
1 fresh rosemary sprig, (I used 1 t. dried Italian seasoning)
1 (15 oz.) can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained (you can use any white bean)
2 (14 oz.) cans reduced sodium chicken broth
4 T. Parmesan cheese, grated
2 T. chopped fresh parsley
Salt and pepper to taste

Heat oil in a large Dutch oven. Add onion, carrots, celery and garlic and saute until onion is softened, about 10 minutes. Add the Swiss chard and potato and saute for 2 minutes. Add the tomatoes and rosemary (or dried seasoning) and continue cooking until Swiss chard is wilted, about 10 minutes.

Puree 3/4 cup of the beans with 1/4 cup of the broth in a processor until smooth. Add the pureed mixture to the soup along with the remaining broth and simmer until the potato is tender, about 15 minutes. Stir in the whole beans and parsley. Simmer until the beans are heated and the soup is thickened. Season with salt and pepper and serve topped with grated Parmesan cheese.

Serves: 6

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Pam January 5, 2010 at 6:42 am

Can you use Canadian Bacon instead of Pancetta?

admin January 5, 2010 at 11:01 am

Canadian bacon would be a great addition. Regular bacon would also work.

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