For me, this minestrone soup always brings back good memories. A couple of years ago, my sister and I took a trip to Paris, where the two of us rented an apartment for a month in the center of the city. We got the opportunity to eat at a lot of amazing restaurants that we normally wouldn’t have had the time to discover, and definitely indulged in a variety of French meals.
There were a few days in between, however, that we’d find ourselves cooking up our own lunch or dinner in our apartment. One of those days happened to be a very cold, rainy day where we just felt like staying indoors.
On that day, I made this delectable minestrone soup for lunch, and to this day, my sister and I have never forgotten the comfort and satisfaction that soup brought us.
The French enjoy something very similar to minestrone soup called soup au pistou. It’s a Provencal soup with pesto sauce in it, but it’s usually got an extra ingredient or two (such as fresh tomatoes and zucchini), and is typically more of a summer vegetable soup rather than a fall/winter soup like minestrone.
Both soup au pistou and minestrone soup are hearty vegetable soups, as evidenced here. It’s one of the reasons why I love curling up with minestrone soup in the cooler months.
The soup has the capability of simultaneously filling you up and warming you straight down to your toes with just one bowlful.
This minestrone soup is not only comforting and cozy, it’s absolutely delicious. I usually have the necessary ingredients on hand, with the exception of fall squash or white beans.
In those cases, I’ve substituted with summer squash and pinto beans (instead of white), and it’s worked out just fine. The beauty of this soup is that you can substitute with whatever vegetables you have on hand, as it’s very forgiving.
Most of the fabulous taste of this soup is derived from the base anyways, which is a combination of chicken stock, tomato, garlic, and onions. It’s a winning medley of ingredients that is sure to bring smiles and warmth to everyone in your home.
A hearty winter soup made with butternut squash, spinach, and tomato.
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 clove large garlic minced
- 1 small onion diced
- 2 carrots peeled and sliced
- 2 stalks celery sliced
- 1 cup heaping of butternut squash or delicata squash peeled and cubed
- pinch of herbes de provence or a pinch of fresh thyme leaves
- 1 tbsp tomato paste
- 1 can of diced tomatoes (14.5 oz)
- 3 cups chicken stock plus more as desired
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp freshly ground pepper
- 7 oz cannellini beans
- 1 1/4 cup cooked pasta tubetti pasta is ideal
- 3 cups of spinach tightly packed
- 1 tsp pesto sauce
Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and sauté until the onion is translucent. Add the carrots, celery, squash, herbes de provence, and tomato paste to the pot. Cook the vegetables for approximately 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until they're somewhat tender.
Pour in the diced tomatoes, chicken stock, bay leaf, salt, and freshly ground pepper. Raise the heat to high and bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low, and allow the soup to simmer for 20 minutes. In the meanwhile, you can cook your pasta.
Once the 20 minutes are up and the vegetables are tender, pour in the beans, cooked pasta, spinach, and pesto sauce. Give everything a gentle stir, slightly tossing the spinach in the soup to incorporate it (kind of like a salad); let the spinach slightly wilt for a minute. Scoop out the bay leaf and discard before serving.
The soup should be thick, but if it's a little too thick for your taste, feel free to pour in a little more chicken stock (when you pour in the beans and pasta) to loosen it up.