Winter Minestrone with Spinach and Butternut Squash [RECIPE]

Winter Minestrone
When you’re in the mood for soup, try a big pot of Winter Minestrone with Spinach and Butternut Squash. (Photo by Jathan Fink, Jadeworks Entertainment)

We love minestrone, but the canned stuff can be either too bland or far too salty. So why not make up a batch of your own? It’s far easier than you think, and the addition of pancetta and loads of veggies such as butternut squash and spinach make it a hearty soup that you’ll want to make again and again.

PREP TIME: 45 minutes
COOK TIME: 45 minutes
TOTAL TIME: 1 hour 30 minutes


  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 ounces pancetta, 1/2-inch diced
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped yellow onion (about 1/2 large onion)
  • 2 cups (1/2-inch diced) carrots, peeled
  • 2 cups (1/2-inch diced) celery
  • 2 1/2 cups (1/2-inch diced) peeled butternut squash
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons minced garlic (4 cloves)
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme leaves
  • One 26-ounce can or box diced tomatoes, such as Pomi
  • 6 to 8 cups chicken stock, preferably homemade
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • One 15-ounce can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 cups cooked small pasta, such as ditalini
  • 8 to 10 ounces fresh spinach, chopped
  • 1/2 cup good dry white wine
  • 2 tablespoons store-bought pesto


  1. In a Dutch oven, heat olive oil over medium high heat. Add the pancetta and reduce heat to medium-low; cook for 6 to 8 minutes or until it is lightly browned, stirring occasionally.
  2. Add onions, carrots, celery, squash, garlic, and thyme and cook over medium heat for 8 to10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the veggies start to soften.
  3. Add the tomatoes, 6 cups chicken stock, bay leaf, 1 tablespoon salt and 1 1/2 teaspoons pepper to the pot and stir. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer uncovered for 30 minutes, or until vegetables are tender. Discard the bay leaf. Add the beans and cooked pasta and heat through.
  4. Add spinach and stir in until the leaves are wilted. Add wine and pesto and stir. Do a taste test to see if you would like more seasoning. If so, this is the time to add more salt and pepper. If you’re satisfied with how it tastes, ladle it into bowls and top with freshly shredded parmesan cheese.

TIPS: This meal pairs well with crusty garlic bread and a big salad with Italian dressing. Just note, that unless you are feeding a crowd, you probably won’t finish everything in the pot in one sitting. Because the pasta soaks up liquid, you may want to add additional chicken stock to the pot when reheating.

YIELD: 6 to 8 servings

About Jathan Fink
Jathan is a journalist, philanthropist, and entrepreneur. He is also a travel junkie, foodie and jazz aficionado. A California native, he resides in Texas.

One Response to Winter Minestrone with Spinach and Butternut Squash [RECIPE]

  1. Pingback: Winter Minestrone with Spinach and Butternut Squash [RECIPE] — Jathan & Heather | My Meals are on Wheels

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