Minestrone with Pesto

Author: Canadian Living

Chunky vegetables, rich broth, nourishing beans, nuggets of pasta and a golden sprinkle of Parmesan — that's amore, or minestrone. It's more than just a soup. Perfect for cold weather and lean times, minestrone has the look, taste and aroma that's satisfying enough for body and soul. Learn how to chop vegetables neatly and quickly and make a quick pesto dress-up for a soup that tastes as good as it looks.

  • Portion size 8 servings


  • 1 cup dried red kidney beans
  • 1 cup dried white kidney beans
  • 1/4 pancetta unsliced
  • 1/4 bacon unsliced
  • 2 garlic
  • 2 onions
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 8 cups chicken stock
  • 2 carrots
  • 2 celery stalks
  • 1/2 cabbage
  • 1 can tomato mashed
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 3 potatoes (1 lb/500g)
  • 1 cup rotini pasta macaroni or tubetti
  • 1 cup packed fresh parsley
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons pine nuts
  • 2 tablespoons walnuts
  • 1 clove garlic minced
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • salt
  • pepper


In bowl, cover beans with 3 cups (750 mL) water. Cover and soak overnight; drain, discarding water.

Cut pancetta into cubes; mince garlic.

Trim stem end and peel onions; halve through root end. With cut side of each onion down, make 2 or 3 horizontal cuts toward but not through root end. With tip of knife at root end, make vertical cuts without going through end. Chop onion into smaller pieces; discard root end.

In Dutch oven, heat oil over medium-high heat; cook pancetta, garlic and onions for 5 minutes or until softened. Add beans and stock; bring to boil, skimming off foam. Cover and simmer over medium-low heat for 1 hour or until beans are tender.

With angled knife, diagonally slice carrots and celery; finely shred cabbage. Add to pot with tomatoes, bay leaf, basil, oregano, salt and pepper; bring to boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, peel and cube potatoes; add to pot along with rotini and simmer, covered, for 10 to 15 minutes or until potatoes are tender. Discard bay leaf. Taste and adjust seasonings.

Pesto: In food processor, puree parsley, oil and pine nuts until smooth; transfer to bowl. Stir in garlic and Parmesan. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Ladle into soup bowls; top with 1 tbsp (15 mL) pesto.

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Minestrone with Pesto