Country-Style Minestrone

  • Yield: 8 servings


4tablespoons olive oil
1/4pound pancetta or bacon, diced
1large onion, peeled and diced
1-- rib celery, diced
2-- carrots, peeled and diced
2tablespoons minced garlic
1/2head Savoy cabbage, sliced
1large baking potato, peeled and diced
2cups canned chopped Italian tomatoes
4cups 2 (15-ounce) cans) cannellini or white great northern beans
4cups chicken or vegetable broth
1tablespoon salt
1/2teaspoon ground black pepper
1teaspoon dried basil
1teaspoon dried oregano
1/2cup dry, small, imported pasta, such as ditali, orzo or elbow
2cups water
1bunch Swiss chard, cleaned of stems, coarsely chopped, or 1 bunch fresh spinach, cleaned and coarsely chopped
6-- thick slices Italian bread, toasted or grilled
1/4cup grated Romano cheese


  1. In a large saucepan, heat oil.  Add pancetta or bacon and saute for 3 to 5 minutes until golden brown.  Add onion, celery, carrots and garlic.  Cook for another minute.  Add the cabbage, potato, tomatoes, beans, broth, salt, pepper, basil and oregano.  Cover; simmer for 20 minutes.  Add pasta and water.  Cover and cook another 10 minutes.  Stir often to make sure pasta is cooking evenly.  Taste for seasoning.  Add the Swiss chard, cook another 2 minutes just until wilted.  Serve in large soup bowls with a thick slice of bread on bottom of bowl, topped with minestrone and cheese.

Recipe reprinted with permission from Marguerite Marceau Henderson’s Savor the Memories (2002).