Pumpkin Minestrone is a comforting and cozy soup. Loaded with tender pumpkin, beans and pasta in a flavorful fire-roasted tomato broth. Serve topped with a swirl of homemade basil oil and grated fresh parmesan cheese. This recipe will serve 10 (1½-cups) servings.
Tis soup season.
And if there’s one thing I crave on these chilly Michigan days, is a comforting bowl of soup.
A few years back, I made (and shared the recipe here) Ina Garten’s Winter Minestrone. I loved it so much, that decided to take her recipe and make a pumpkin kale version. I kept the bones of her recipe but made a few changes as well. Of course adding pumpkin, but also swapping out the spinach for chopped kale, adding fresh rosemary and rubbed sage. For the pasta I used a whimsical pumpkin shaped pasta (aka zucca) and I also added a parmesan rind to the soup which adds incredible flavor.
I ladled the soup into bowls and topped it with my homemade basil oil, freshly ground black pepper and grated parmesan cheese.
The result? Perfection.
To Make This Pumpkin Minestrone You Will Need:
- olive oil – Or substitute with avocado oil.
- pancetta – Gives this soup a smoky flavor and delicious meaty texture.
- carrots – Adds color and subtle sweetness.
- celery – Lends earthy flavor and delicious texture.
- yellow onion – Adds a sweet and subtle onion flavor to the soup.
- garlic – Adds distinct punchy flavor.
- thyme (fresh) – Lends an earthy, slightly minty and lemony flavor.
- rosemary (fresh) – Adds a pine-like or woodsy flavor with notes of lemon, pepper and sage.
- rubbed sage – Gives a distant earthy, slightly minty and musky flavor.
- kosher salt – Helps soften the vegetables and enhances the flavors of this soup.
- pumpkin – Look for one labeled “pie” pumpkin.
- crushed fire-roasted tomatoes – Fire-roasted tomatoes adds additional flavor to this recipe, however, regular can be substituted.
- low-sodium chicken broth – Homemade or store-bought.
- parmesan rind – This will infuse the soup with umami flavor.
- bay leaf – Adds a somewhat subtle minty or pine-y flavor with hints of black pepper.
- pasta – Use any short to medium sized pasta. I’ve linked the one I used in the recipe printable.
- kidney beans – Light or dark red kidney beans can be used.
- great northern beans – Cannellini beans may be used instead.
- kale – I buy pre-washed and chopped kale for ease.
- dry white wine – Like chardonnay or sauvignon blanc. Use a wine you like to sip!
- freshly ground black pepper – Adds some subtle bite and flavor.
- parmesan cheese – Freshly grated is best!
- basil oil – Or substitute with basil pesto.
- crusty bread – This is of course optional.
A Note About Pasta:
Because this is pumpkin minestrone, I decided to use pumpkin shaped pasta. Truthfully you can use any small to medium sized pasta, however I’ve linked to the one I used down in the recipe printable. You will need 6 ounces.
Prep the Pumpkin First:
For this recipe you will need 3 cups fresh pumpkin. To do this, cut the stem off of the top of the pumpkin and then cut it in half from top to bottom. Use a metal spoon to scrape out the seeds (save them for roasting!). Use a vegetable peeler to remove the outer skin. Slice into strips and then cut the strips 3/4 to 1-inch cubes.
Make The Soup:
Add 2 teaspoons olive oil with 4 ounces pancetta into a large (6 to 7-quart) dutch oven. Heat over medium-low and cook until crispy, stirring occasionally. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the crispy pancetta to a paper towel lined plate, leaving the fat in the pot.
Meanwhile prep the veggies, garlic and fresh herbs. You will need 2 cups diced carrots, 2 cups diced celery, 1 chopped large yellow onion (about 2-1/2 cups), 4cloves minced fresh garlic, 2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme and 1-1/2 teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary.
To the rendered fat in the pot add the pumpkin, carrots, celery, onion, garlic, thyme, rosemary, 1 teaspoon rubbed sage and 1 teaspoon kosher salt.
Stir to coat in the fat.
Cover and cook for 10 to 12 minutes or until softened.
Next, add in 1 (28-ounce) can crushed fire-roasted tomatoes, 6 cups low-sodium chicken broth, 1 bay leaf and the parmesan rind. Stir, cover and bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce heat to low and simmer for 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, bring a pot of water to boil. Once boiling, add a small palmful of sea salt and stir in 6 ounces of pasta. Following the package directions, cook the pasta to al dente.
When the soup is done simmering, add in 1 (15-ounce) can of both kidney beans and great northern beans (rinsed and drained), the cooked pasta and crispy pancetta. Stir to incorporate.
Add in 5 ounces chopped kale.
Stir and cook until wilted. About 5 minutes.
NOTE: At this point, if you feel the soup needs more broth, you can add up to 2 more cups of low-sodium chicken broth.
Pour in 1/2 cup dry white wine. It may seem unorthodox to add wine straight into soup, but if Ina does it, so do I.
Stir and heat through. Taste and add more salt (up to 2 more teaspoons) and freshly ground black pepper as needed.
Remove the parmesan rind and bay leaf before serving.
This hearty and flavorful soup is now ready to be served.
Ladle 1-1/2 cups of soup into bowls and garnish with a swirl of basil oil, freshly grated parmesan cheese and a little extra black pepper.
What To Serve With Pumpkin Minestrone:
- grilled cheese or panini – Specifically this pesto mozzarella grilled cheese or this chicken caprese panini.
- crusty bread – Like this no-knead rustic loaf, parmesan herb garlic bread or homemade garlic knots.
- a simple side salad – Toss baby arugula (or baby spinach) with thinly sliced radish and top with a champagne vinaigrette (equal parts champagne vinegar and olive oil, salt and pepper).
How to Store Pumpkin Minestrone:
Let the soup cool as quickly as possible (with-in 2 hours) Transfer to a storage container with a tight fitting lid and refrigerate for up to 3 to 4 days.
How To Reheat Pumpkin Minestrone:
Add soup to a sauce pan or dutch oven, reheat on the stovetop, slowly on low to moderate heat until hot.
Can you Freeze Minestrone?
Yes. However I would recommend leaving the pasta out of the soup and just making it and adding it in when reheating. Not ideal, but necessary because pasta doesn’t freeze well in soups.
How To Freeze Minestrone:
Prepare soup (leaving out the cooked pasta). Transfer cooled soup to freezer safe container or individual containers and freeze for up to 3 months.
How To Thaw and Reheat Minestrone Soup:
Remove the frozen soup 24 hours prior to making and let thaw in the fridge. Add thawed soup to a saucepan or dutch oven (depending on how much you are reheating) and reheat on the stovetop, slowly on low to moderate heat until hot.
- 3 cups peeled and chopped pumpkin
- 2 teaspoons olive oil, or avocado oil
- 4 ounces diced pancetta
- 2 cup diced carrots
- 2 cups diced celery
- 1 large yellow onion, diced (about 2½ cups)
- 4 cloves minced garlic
- 2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
- 1½ teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary
- 1 teaspoon rubbed sage
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt, plus more as needed
- 28 ounces canned fire-roasted tomatoes
- 6 cups low-sodium chicken broth, up to 8 cups if needed
- 1 parmesan cheese rind
- 1 dried bay leaf
- 15 ounces canned kidney beans, rinsed and drained
- 15 ounces canned great northern beans, rinsed and drained
- 6 ounces dried pasta
- 5 ounces chopped fresh kale
- 1/2 cup dry white wine, like chardonnay or sauvignon blanc
- freshly ground black pepper , to taste
- grated parmesan cheese
- basil oil, or sub with pesto
- crusty bread, optional
- Because prepping the pumpkin takes some time, I recommend doing that before starting the soup.
- Add olive oil and pancetta into a large (6 to 7 quart) dutch oven. Heat over medium-low and cook until crispy, stirring occasionally. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the crispy pancetta to a paper towel lined plate, leaving the fat in the pot.
- To the rendered fat, add the pumpkin, carrots, celery, onion, garlic, thyme, rosemary, rubbed sage and 1 teaspoon kosher salt. Stir to coat in the fat. Cover and cook for 10 to 12 minutes or until softened.
- Next, add in the crushed fire-roasted tomatoes, low-sodium chicken broth, bay leaf and the parmesan rind. Stir, cover and bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce heat to low and simmer for 30 minutes.
- Meanwhile, bring a pot of water to boil. Once boiling, add a small palmful of sea salt and stir in the pasta. Following the package directions, cook the pasta to al dente.
- When the soup is done simmering, add in both kidney beans and great northern beans, cooked pasta and crispy pancetta. Stir to incorporate. Add in the chopped kale. Stir and cook until wilted. About 5 minutes.*At this point, if you feel the soup needs more broth, you can add up to 2 more cups of low-sodium chicken broth.
- Pour in the dry white wine. Stir and heat through. Taste and add more salt (up to 2 more teaspoons) and freshly ground black pepper as needed.
- Remove the parmesan rind and bay leaf before serving.
- Ladle soup into bowls, top with basil oil, freshly ground black pepper and freshly grated parmesan cheese.
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