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I made this without the pasta and the bacon, and it was still terrific. Recipe courtesy of Spilling the Beans.
- canola oil or olive oil, for cooking
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 1⁄4 lb pancetta or 1⁄4 lb bacon, diced
- 4 cups chicken stock or 4 cups vegetable stock
- 14 ounces whole tomatoes or 14 ounces diced tomatoes or 2 large tomatoes, diced
- 2 medium red potatoes (peeling optional) or 2 medium yukon gold potatoes (peeling optional)
- 1 carrot, cut in half lengthwise
- 1 large zucchini, diced
- 1⁄4 lb green beans, cut into bite-sized pieces
- 2 cups beans (any kind, cooked or a 19 oz can, rinsed and drained)
- 1 head napa cabbage (small head, thinly sliced) or 1 head savoy cabbage (small head, thinly sliced) or 1 head bok choy (small head, thinly sliced)
- 1⁄3 cup pesto sauce (plus more for the table)
- 1 cup dry pasta, cooked about 3 minutes less than package indicates
- Heat a drizzle of oil in a large saucepan or Dutch oven, and saute the onion, garlic, and pancetta or bacon until the onion is transparent, about 5 minutes.
- Add the stock and tomatoes and bring to a simmer.
- Add the potatoes, carrot, zucchini, both types of beans, and cabbage to the pot, and simmer again.
- Cover, uncovered, until the vegetables are tender, about 30 minutes.
- Add the pesto and pasta right before serving, and taste for seasoning (you may not need any--pancetta and pesto are both quite salty).
- Pass around more pesto at the table if desired.
This was a great, simple base recipe for minestrone. I noticed the amount of onion is not listed in the ingredients (I used 1 medium onion, chopped). Adding the pesto at the end gave it a great punch of flavor. We enjoyed this with shaved parmesan cheese and some crusty bread on the side. Delicious!