Oh Fall, you have my heart! The flavors, colors, weather...all of it is my favorite. So, cheers to Fall! Here is a super easy and delicious Minestrone Soup to help you keep warm and fill your table. Our daughter Bella regularly requests this soup, so it's kid tested. I mean, it has noodles in it and tastes like pizza...kinda ;) What more could you want?!
One of the questions I get all of the time is how do you figure out what to serve with a dish? Here's a little tip on how I 'build' a dinner. Start with the main dish, add a starch that has similar flavors and then a salad that has fruit or veggies that match those flavors and the season. Here is an idea for a full menu built around Minestrone.
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 5 ounces pancetta, 1/2-inch diced
- 1 1/2 cups yellow onion, chopped
- 3 large carrots, 1/2-inch diced
- 3 celery stalks, 1/2-inch diced
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon Italian blend spice mix
- 1/4 teaspoon basil
- 1/4 teaspoon oregano
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 cup red wine
- 7 cups chicken stock
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 (26-ounce) can diced tomatoes, or fresh
- 1 (15-ounce) can kidney beans, drained
- 1 (15-ounce) can white beans, drained
- fresh Parmesan shavings, to top the soup
- 1 lb small pasta, shells or macaroni style, cooked separately according to packaged directions.
In a large stock pot or dutch oven, heat the olive oil over medium heat and add the pancetta. Saute for 5 minutes, or until it has started to crisp up. Add in the onions, carrots, celery, and garlic. Saute for another 5 minutes. Add the spices, salt, pepper, and tomato paste. Stir to combine then pour in the wine using it to deglaze the pan (to help loosen any bits off of the bottom of the pan). Let the wine simmer for a minute, then add in the chicken stock, bay leaf, and diced tomatoes and their juices. Bring the soup to a low simmer and allow it to cook uncovered for at least 20 minutes. After is has simmered, stir in the beans, keep on low until you are ready to serve (if you are going to simmer it longer, cover it after 20 minutes to keep it from evaporating off too much of the liquid). While the soup is simmering, cook your pasta in a separate pot (under cook it slightly so it stays firm in the soup). Drain the pasta and rinse with cold water to keep them from sticking together, set aside.
To serve the soup, scoop 1 large spoonful of the pasta into a bowl, ladle the minestrone over the noodles and top with Parmesan shavings.
Now fill your kitchen with the delicious smells of garlic and simmering soup, bake up some fluffy Foccaccia and toss the salad. Here's to Fall, and allowing dinner to change everything. I hope the simplicity of this meal gives you more space and time to see and hear the people sitting around your table. I bet they're pretty rad.
if you love this recipe, you will LOVE our new book, Dinner Changes Everything. It's full of menus, timelines, and everything you need to host a dinner that will make a difference.
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