Happy New Year! I hope all of you had a happy and healthy holiday season. If you did as much celebrating, eating and drink as I did over the last few weeks you’re ready to start the new year on the healthy side! It’s easy to reach for comfort food when the weather is cold but there is no reason that comfort food can’t also be healthy!
Like this butternut squash minestrone! This soup can easily be made vegetarian by leaving out the pancetta and substituting vegetable broth for chicken broth. The butternut squash gives this soup a hearty and filling base while adding a touch of sweetness. Fresh spinach adds some color and leaves you feeling like you’ve eaten your greens for the day! Perfect for dinner, lunch or apres skiing snack, everyone will love this soup! Cheers!
- Good olive oil
- 4 ounces pancetta, 1/2-inch-diced
- 1 1/2 cups chopped yellow onions
- 2 cups (1/2-inch-diced) carrots (3 carrots)
- 2 cups (1/2-inch-diced) celery (3 stalks)
- 2 1/2 cups (1/2-inch-diced) peeled butternut squash
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme leaves
- 1 (26-ounce) can or box diced tomatoes, such as Pomi
- 6 to 8 cups chicken stock, preferably homemade
- 1 bay leaf
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 (15-ounce) can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
- 2 cups cooked small pasta, such as tubetti
- 8 to 10 ounces fresh baby spinach leaves
- 1/2 cup good dry white wine
- 2 tablespoons store-bought pesto
- Freshly grated Parmesan cheese, for serving
- Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat in a large, heavy pot or Dutch oven. Add the pancetta and cook over medium-low heat for 6 to 8 minutes, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned.
- Add the onions, carrots, celery, squash, garlic, and thyme and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, for 8 to 10 minutes, until the vegetables begin to soften.
- Add the tomatoes, 6 cups of the chicken stock, the bay leaf, 1 tablespoon salt, and 1 1/2 teaspoons pepper to the pot. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer uncovered for 30 minutes, until the vegetables are tender.
- Discard the bay leaf. Add the beans and cooked pasta and heat through. The soup should be quite thick but if it’s too thick, I add more chicken stock.
- Just before serving, add the spinach, and toss with 2 big spoons (like tossing a salad). Cook just until the leaves are wilted. Stir in the white wine and pesto. Depending on the saltiness of the chicken stock, add another teaspoon or two of salt to taste.
- Sprinkled with Parmesan cheese, drizzle with olive oil and serve hot with fresh bread.
Original recipe from Barefoot Contessa