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Ina Garten's Winter Minestrone

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Ina Garten’s Winter Minestrone is a beloved recipe in my home. Tender vegetables like carrots, celery, onion and butternut squash with pancetta, cannellini beans, pasta and spinach. It’s the perfect soup for a cold winters day.
Keyword butternut squash, healthy, homemade, minestrone, soup, spinach, winter
Prep Time 35 mins
Cook Time 35 mins
Total Time 1 hr 10 mins
Servings 6 to 8
Calories 442
Author Laurie McNamara


  • olive oil spray
  • 5 ounces diced pancetta
  • 2 cups diced carrots
  • 2 cups diced celery
  • cups yellow onion diced, about 1 large
  • 4 cloves garlic minced
  • 2 teaspoons fresh thyme chopped
  • 2 to 3 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 2-1/2 cups butternut squash cubed, see notes
  • 1 (28 ounce) can crushed tomatoes
  • 6 to 8 cups unsalted chicken stock
  • 1 bay leaf
  • black pepper freshly ground, to taste
  • 1 (15 ounce) can cannellini beans rinsed and drained
  • 1 cup small pasta
  • 5 ounces baby spinach or baby kale
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine like sauvignon blanc or chardonnay
  • 2 tablespoons basil pesto
  • parmesan cheese for serving


  • Start by lightly spraying the bottom of your dutch oven with olive oil spray. Add in the diced pancetta. Cook until crispy. This takes about 8 to 10 minutes. Once the pancetta is crisp, transfer it to a paper towel lined plate, leaving the fat in the pot.
  • Next add in all the carrots, celery, onion, garlic and thyme with a pinch of kosher salt. If using fresh butternut squash, add it in here. (see notes) Stir and cook 8 to 10 minutes.
  • Add in diced butternut squash (if using steamable), 6 cups unsalted chicken broth, crushed tomatoes, bay leaf, 2 teaspoons kosher salt and lots of freshly ground black pepper.
  • Give it a stir to combine. Cover with the lid askew and bring to a boil. Reduce to low and simmer for 30 minutes.
  • Halfway through, bring a (covered) medium pot of salted water (small palmful of sea salt) to a boil. Add in 1 cup ditalini pasta and cook following the package directions. Try to time it so that it is done when the soup is done simmering.
  • Once al dente, drain the pasta into a colander and add to the soup with the beans and pancetta.
  • Stir before adding in the baby spinach, stir and cook until wilted.
  • Lastly pour in the dry white wine and add the basil pesto. Give it a stir and a taste. For me, I usually add in another teaspoon kosher salt and a few more grinds of black pepper. However, season to your personal taste.
  • Ladle soup into bowls and top with grated fresh parmesan cheese.


I only had frozen (steam-able) butternut squash on hand and I believe it’s previously steamed? So I add it in later.


Serving: 1g | Calories: 442kcal | Carbohydrates: 31g | Protein: 38g | Fat: 17g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 11g | Cholesterol: 96mg | Sodium: 1291mg | Fiber: 7g | Sugar: 7g