Winter Minestrone

Less than a week ago it was 90 degrees here in the San Francisco Bay Area.  It was the perfect salad weather.  The warm weather has now been replaced with much cooler temps and gray clouds.  Exit salad, enter soup!

A warm soup like this Winter Minestrone is the perfect replacement.  It’s chock full of fresh vegetables….it’s like salad in a bowl.  Healthy and satisfying, add some crusty bread for dipping and you have yourself dinner.  This is probably the first homemade soup I ever made.  I watched Giada De Laurentiis’ show Every Day Italian on Food Network most afternoons while my then baby boy napped.  It was a hit I’ve made it on a regular basis ever since.  I ended up buying her first cookbook, also titled Every Day Italian, which is where I got this recipe.  It is now on the Food Network website where you can link to it above.

Substitutions/Time Savers:

  • Make it vegetarian by omitting the pancetta and using vegetable stock
  • Instead of swiss chard, use kale, fresh spinach, or even frozen spinach (rinse in running water, then squeeze out excess water).
  • Why wash more kitchen equipment?  Instead of pureeing half of the beans in your food processor or blender, simply place them in a bowl with the broth and mash it with a fork.  It doesn’t need to be perfect here – this is just to help thicken the soup
  • When I have the time, I find chopping therapeutic.  If you don’t, buy pre-chopped onion, celery, and carrot.