This winter minestrone is chock full of chunky veggies, beans and pancetta. Simmering with a parmesan rind gives it rich, salty flavor. Serve this winter minestrone with some garlic bread, and you have a simple, delicious, healthy, and satisfying meal.
It’s a funny thing about the seasons in Montreal. We have beautiful hot summers that are heart-wrenchingly short, but while you’re in the middle of it, you can hardly remember what the bitter cold is like. Same in the winter, when the summer feels like a distant memory from another era. But I finally feel like we’re getting near the end of the road with this long, miserable winter. Hard to believe, but in a few weeks the trees will be budding and the smell of spring will be in the air!
In the meantime though, I find that I’m still feeling the need to warm my soul with a good bowl of homemade soup at least once a week. I tend to think of soups as falling into two categories: creamy and chunky. Usually I gravitate toward creamy soups, like this Indian-spiced carrot and ginger soup, or this creamy leek and potato soup. But this winter minestrone is the exception. I’ve been making this recipe for years, and it’s my absolute favorite.
Sometimes minestrone can be a bit…one-dimensional. But this one has tons of flavor. The pancetta gives it a meaty taste and texture, and the Parmesan rind provides rich salty balance. I like to save my Parmesan rinds in a plastic baggie in the freezer. They are a great addition to many recipes that simmer for a while, but especially brothy soups like this one.
Serve this winter minestrone with some garlic bread, and you have the kind of simple, delicious and satisfying meal that winter is made for.
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 onion chopped
- 3 carrots chopped
- 3 celery stalks chopped
- 2 garlic cloves minced
- 3 oz pancetta chopped
- 1 russet potato peeled and cubed
- 1 28 oz can whole tomatoes
- 1 sprig fresh rosemary
- 1 15 oz can cannellini beans (small white kidney beans)
- 4 cups low sodium beef broth
- 1 piece of parmesan cheese rind
- chopped fresh parsley for garnish
In a large pot, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onion, carrots, celery, garlic, and pancetta, and cook for about 10 minutes, until the onions are softened.
Stir in the potatoes, and saute for another minute or two. Add the tomatoes and rosemary, and cook for 10 minutes, breaking the tomatoes apart with a wooden spoon as they cook.
Add the beans, broth, and Parmesan rind and stir. Simmer for about 15 minutes, until the potatoes are tender when pierced with a fork.
Season with salt and pepper to taste and remove the Parmesan rind and rosemary sprig. Garnish with parsley, and serve with crusty bread, or garlic bread if desired.
Loosely adapted from Giada's Family Dinners by Giada De Laurentiis