Winter Minestrone

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Preparation info

  • Serves

    4 to 6

    • Difficulty

      Medium

Appears in

One Good Dish

By David Tanis

Published 2013

  • About

This is not a vegetable-laden summer minestrone. It’s mostly about earthy, creamy, slowly cooked white beans with accents of pancetta, roasted winter squash, and rosemary. Choose sweet, firm-fleshed squashes like kabocha, delicata, or butternut.

Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 medium onions, cut into small dice
  • Salt and pepper
  • ¼ pound pancetta or bacon, sliced into ¼-inch-wide strips
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • ½ teaspoon crushed fennel seeds
  • ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 pound dried cannellini beans, soaked overnight in cold water and drained
  • 6 cups water
  • 1 pound winter squash, peeled and cut into ½-inch cubes
  • ½ pound small pasta, such as tubetti or orrechiette, cooked until al dente and drained
  • 2 teaspoons chopped rosemary
  • Fruity olive oil for drizzling

    Method

    In a heavy soup pot, heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the onions, season with salt, and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the pancetta, garlic, fennel seeds, and red pepper flakes and cook for 2 minutes. Add the beans and water, bring to a simmer, and cook gently until the beans are very tender, about 1½ hours.

    Meanwhile, heat the oven to 400°F. Put the squash cubes on a baking sheet, season with salt and pepper, and coat with the remaining tablespoon olive oil. Roast until tender and lightly caramelized, about 30 minutes. Set aside to cool. Adjust the seasoning of the beans and broth with salt and pepper. Gently stir in the cooked squash and pasta and heat through.

    To serve, ladle into bowls. Sprinkle each serving with a pinch of freshly chopped rosemary and a drizzle of fruity olive oil.