During the fall and winter season, I make a lot of soup. There is nothing better than good comfort food when it’s cold outside. Ministroni soup is right up there with some of my other favorites and is easy to make. This is the kind of soup where you can experiment with different vegetables.
- 1 (15 oz.) can of white cannelli beans, drained and rinsed
- 2 zucchinis, chopped into bite size pieces
- 2 medium carrots, peeled and chopped into bite size pieces
- 1 pound swiss chard, finely chopped (remove stems) Kale would also be really good to add
- approximately 1 cup of finely chopped pancetta into small bite size pieces
- 1 to 2 cans diced tomatoes
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1/2 to 1 yellow onion, chopped
- 1 (32 oz.) carton of chicken or beef broth
- 1 sprig of rosemary
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 tablespoons fresh Italian parsley
- salt and pepper to taste
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/2 carton of macaroni noodles or other noodle of your choice
Heat olive 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 saute for 2 minutes. Add the diced tomatoes. Simmer until the chard is wilted and the tomatoes break down, about 10 minutes.
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 and remaining broth. Add bay leaves and rosemary sprig as well as salt/pepper. 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 bay leaves and rosemary sprig (the leaves will have fallen off of the stem.)
I usually add the macaroni noodles after I put everything else in the soup and let it simmer for an our or so. You can also cook the noodles separately and put them in the soup afterwards.
Ladle the soup into bowls and serve. Top with Parmesan cheese.