Thursday, December 9, 2010

giada's winter minestrone

This was one of those recipes that fell into place perfectly: Cold, lazy morning. Self-imposed Food Network marathon. JT's request for a warm, hearty soup. Giada diLaurentiis's big pot of minestrone served to her ski bunny family as they returned to their Aspen Christmas paradise. Since I'd just seen it that morning, I made it by memory with a few modifications based on what we had on hand. And I baked up some honey cornbread for a little somethin' somethin' sweet on the side. Here's Giada's recipe with my notes, originally found here.


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 2 celery stalks, chopped (I didn't have celery, so did without)
  • 3 ounces thinly sliced pancetta, coarsely chopped (I subbed bacon)
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 pound Swiss chard, stems trimmed, leaves coarsely chopped (or baby spinach)
  • 1 russet potato, peeled and cubed (or four red potatoes, cubed)
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 (14 1/2-ounce) can diced tomatoes in juice
  • 2 fresh rosemary sprigs
  • 1 (15-ounce) can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed, divided
  • 2 (14-ounce) cans low-sodium beef broth, divided
  • 1 (1-ounce) Parmesan rind (I didn't have a rind, but added salt at the beginning and stirred in parmesan cheese at the end)
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley


In a large, heavy stockpot or Dutch oven, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onion, carrots, celery, pancetta, and garlic. (I cooked down the bacon first and am convinced it contributed to the delicious, smoky taste of the broth.) Cook, stirring frequently, until the onion is translucent, about 10 minutes. Add the Swiss chard and potato. (If you're using spinach, you can wait to add it -- 1-2 huge handfuls -- as it will wilt very, very quickly.) Season with salt and pepper and cook for 2 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes and rosemary sprigs. Bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer until the chard is wilted and the tomatoes are very soft, about 10 minutes.

In a food processor or blender, combine 3/4 of the beans with 1/2 cup of broth. Blend until almost smooth. Add the pureed bean mixture, remaining broth, and Parmesan rind to the vegetable mixture. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until the potato pieces are tender, about 15 minutes. Stir in the remaining beans and the parsley (and the parmesan cheese if you're going that route). Simmer until the beans are heated through and the soup is thick, about 2 minutes. Discard the rosemary stems (the leaves will have fallen off) and season with salt and pepper, to taste. Ladle the soup into bowls and serve.

Enjoy (with warm cornbread or without)!

1 comment:

  1. i'm thinking about a soup for dinner too....this looks so good and cozy! (cozy is a good thing, if you could see what I see out my window right now!)
    cathy b.


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