Sock Rockin’ Fall-to-Winter Minestrone

WinterMinestrone.jpg

Ingredients

Good olive oil

1/4-1/2 cup Dry-Packed Sundried Tomatoes, Chopped, optional

1 1/2 cups chopped yellow onions

2 cups (1/2-inch-diced) carrots (3 carrots)

2 cups (1/2-inch-diced) celery (3 stalks)

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 OR 1 tsp dried thyme leaves

1 (26-ounce) can or box diced tomatoes, such as Pomi

8 cups organic vegetable stock

1 large bay leaf

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 (15-ounce) can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed

2 cups cooked small pasta, such as tubetti

8 to 10 ounces fresh baby spinach leaves, coarsely chopped

1/2 cup good dry white wine

2 tablespoons pesto (may substitute for 1-2 tbsp dried basil, adjusting for taste)

Fresh Grated Asiago, optional, for serving

Directions

Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat in a large, heavy pot or Dutch oven.

Add the onions, carrots, celery, squash, garlic, and thyme and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, for 8 to 10 minutes, until the vegetables begin to soften.

Add the tomatoes, vegetable stock, the bay leaf, thyme, sundried tomatoes, a strong pinch of salt, and fresh cracked pepper to the pot.  If using dried basil instead of the pesto, you’ll want to add that now as well.

Bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer covered for 30 minutes, until the vegetables are tender.

Discard the bay leaf. Add the beans and cooked pasta and heat through. The soup should be quite thick but if it’s too thick, I add more vegetable stock.

Shut off the heat, add the spinach, and toss with 2 big spoons (like tossing a salad). Cover and let set about 5 minutes, jjust until the leaves are wilted. Stir in the white wine and pesto.

Sprinkled with fresh Asiago or a sprinkling of Nutritional Yeast, drizzle with olive oil and serve hot.
NOTE:  If making ahead of time, stop just before adding the spinach.  When ready to serve, heat the soup back to a simmer, shut off heat and complete the remaining steps.