Homemade Winter Minestrone is a healthy and hearty winter soup full of cold weather favorites like kale, squash, beans, bacon, pasta, and savory beef broth.
This is one of my favorite soups. In my opinion, soup is best enjoyed during the cold winter months. A lot of people ask how I can stand the rainy winter months here in Portland. This is how I can handle the dark skies and lack of vitamin D: First, the holidays get me all the way through the beginning of the year. Not only am I usually to busy with all the holidays bring, but I just love everything about Halloween all the way through New Years. I’m talking about FFF: the food, the festivities, and family. Then, once the crocus start breaking through the ground in mid February, I have hope that Spring will soon be here and that means endless colorful bulbs, beautiful flowering trees, allergy attacks, and longer days. Yes, by spring time I welcome the allergies because that at least means something is once again growing. The most difficult time of year, however, is from January 2 until those crocus start blooming. The weather is cold, the sky is grey, the ground is always wet, and I’m as pale as a ghost. Enter: warm and welcoming Winter Minestrone soup. This soup has everything you could possibly want in a cold weather hearty soup and it is so freaking delicious, especially if you make it with your own homemade roasted beef broth. And being the foodie that I am, I actually had every single ingredient on hand when I wanted to make this soup without having to make a separate trip to the store. Score!
- 8 ounces bacon ends and pieces
- 1 medium yellow onion chopped small
- 3 medium sized carrots peeled and chopped small
- 2 medium celery stalks with leaves chopped small
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 8 cups beef stock homemade beef stock is far and away the best
- 1 small winter squash I used carnival (about 1 1/2 cups) *
- 2 cups kale cut into small pieces
- 1-2 sprigs fresh rosemary
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 parmesan rind
- 14 ounce can canellini beans drained and rinsed
- 1/2 cup tiny uncooked pasta
- salt and pepper as desired
- additional grated parmesan for serving
- In a heavy bottom stockpot over medium high heat, cook the bacon pieces until crispy. Remove all but about 2 tablespoons of the oil. Add onions, carrots and celery and cook until tender, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook another 2-3 minutes.
- Add beef stock, squash, kale, rosemary, bay leaf, parmesan rind, as well as 2 cups of water to the pot. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low so that soup remains at a mellow simmer. Cook for 30-60 minutes.
- Remove parmesan rind, bay leaf and rosemary sprig. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Prior to serving, add beans and pasta and continue cooking until pasta is al dente, about 10 minutes. Alternatively, you can add the beans but cook the pasta separately, adding cooked pasta to individual servings. If not consuming all of the soup in one meal, do not add pasta until ready to serve.
- Serve with a crispy hot bread and top with freshly grated parmesan.