Winter Minestrone Soup

ei1b02_winter_minestrone.jpg.rend.sni12col.landscape One of the best parts of Fall is undoubtedly soup. There are so many varieties to choose from. From delicate purees to hearty vegetable stews, there is something for everyone.

This has become one of my favorites for its rich yet varied offering. Do give it a try.

INGREDIENTS:

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, chopped
2 carrots, peeled, chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
3 ounces thinly sliced pancetta, coarsely chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 pound Swiss chard, stems trimmed, leaves coarsely chopped
1 russet potato, peeled, cubed
1 (14 1/2-ounce) can diced tomatoes
1 fresh rosemary sprig
1 (15-ounce) can cannellini beans, drained, rinsed
2 (14-ounce) cans low-sodium beef broth
1 ounce piece Parmesan cheese rind
2 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian parsley leaves
Salt and pepper

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Heat the oil in a heavy large pot over medium heat. Add the onion, carrots, celery, pancetta, and garlic. Saute until the onion is translucent, about 10 minutes. Add the Swiss chard and potato; saute for 2 minutes. Add the tomatoes and rosemary sprig. Simmer until the chard is wilted and the tomatoes break down, about 10 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, blend 3/4 cup of the beans with 1/4 cup of the broth in a processor until almost smooth. Add the pureed bean mixture, remaining broth, and Parmesan cheese rind to the vegetable mixture. Simmer until the potato pieces are tender, stirring occasionally, about 15 minutes. Stir in the whole beans and parsley. Simmer until the beans are heated through and the soup is thick, about 2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Discard Parmesan rind and rosemary sprig (the leaves will have fallen off of the stem.)
  3. Ladle the soup into bowls and serve.

SERVES: 6

NOTES: If you can’t get pancetta, use bacon. If you can’t get swiss chard, use spinach. I buy my parmesan in bulk so when I have shaved off to the rind, I throw it in a bag for the freezer. It’s a great addition to any soup.

SOURCE: Giada De Laurentiis, Food Network

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