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+ servings
Cast iron pot of vegetable heavy soup and a wooden spoon

Barefoot Contessa's Winter Minestrone

Course Dinner, Soup
Cuisine Italian
Yield 8 servings


  • 2 tbsp Good olive oil
  • 4 ounces pancetta or bacon 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) (optional)
  • 2 1/2 cups 1/2-inch-diced peeled butternut squash
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons minced garlic, 4 cloves
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme leaves
  • One 26-ounce can or box diced tomatoes, such as Pomi
  • 6 to 8 cups chicken stock, preferably homemade (mine was not)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • One 15-ounce can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 cup 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


  1. Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat in a large, heavy pot or Dutch oven. Add the pancetta (or bacon) 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, add more chicken stock (I did not).
  2. While the soup is simmering, cook the pasta. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add 1 cup of pasta and cook according to the package instructions. Drain, and set aside.
  3. 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 (I did not add any). Pour into bowls, sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and serve hot.


You can easily make this soup ahead of time. Follow the first set of instructions and refrigerate (or freeze) soup. Just before serving, reheat the soup, and continue with the second and third steps.

Source: Barefoot Contessa Foolproof by Ina Garten

She serves it with her Garlic Bruschetta