Italian minestrone soup is a classic soup of Italy that is made up of whatever vegetables are in season. There are so many variations of this classic Italian soup based on season and the different regions of Italy. This Italian minestrone recipe is my end of Summer and beginning of Fall version which uses vegetables from both seasons and it is so full of flavor.
About this Italian Minestrone
This Italian minestrone is a simple recipe that is based on layers of flavor. The vegetables that are used in this recipe can be substituted for whatever vegetables you have on hand or are in season.
I will tell you below in the notes section what part of the recipe is the base portion for flavor so you do not substitute those ingredients. A great minestrone soup is made up of many layers of flavor and you will be rewarded with a great meal when you follow these steps.
- Chicken stock. Unsalted
- Pancetta. You can also use guanciale or thick sliced ham that is cubed.
- Radicchio. You can substitute cabbage or leafy greens.
- Cannellini beans.
- Diced tomatoes.
- Ditalini pasta. Small shell pasta or small macaroni pasta can also be used.
- Red pepper flakes.
- Parmesan. The rind for the soup and the cheese portion for the topping.
- Bay leaf.
- Dried Oregano.
- Kosher salt.
Notes about the ingredients
- The base flavors that make the soup: As I mentioned above, vegetables you have available can be substituted for what the recipe calls for but there are certain items that make the base flavor of a minestrone. Olive oil, carrots, onions, garlic, bay leaf, Parmesan rind, tomatoes and stock are all essentials that you should not substitute if you want to make a great minestrone.
- Swapping fresh tomatoes for canned tomatoes is fine. You will need 2 large tomatoes that are diced to substitute for the canned tomatoes in this recipe.
- Use a good quality chicken stock for the soup. I always use stock and not broth because it has a better flavor.
- This recipe calls for kosher salt. If you do not have kosher salt and you are using table salt, you will want to decrease the amount by half.
- If you do not have guanciale available you can use pancetta or diced thick cut ham. You do not have to add the meat into the soup but it really adds so much depth of flavor.
How to make:
You start your soup by sautéing your meat, red pepper flakes and onions in olive oil until the meat crisps up and the onions are translucent.
Once your meat and onions are ready you will add in the rest of your vegetables and sauté them until they soften. The only vegetable you will leave out are the zucchini since they are added in towards the end so they retain some texture.
Here your vegetables are cooked down then you will add your stock, beans and your bay leaf.
Now add your Parmesan rind, salt and pepper and mix well and let simmer on low for 15 minutes.
While your your minestrone simmers you will want to start bringing a medium pot of water to a boil to make your pasta. This step is done separately because if we add the pasta to the soup while it is cooking, the pasta will drink up all of the broth.
We also add one more layer of flavor in this soup by tossing the cooked pasta with olive oil and freshly grated parmesan. When ready to serve, the pasta is added to soup bowls then the minestrone is ladled over top.
Cook and drain your pasta and add it back to the pot that it cooked in. Drizzle liberally with olive oil and toss well so the pasta does not stick together. After adding the olive oil, add a good handful of freshly grated Parmesan and mix that in to coat the pasta. Set aside until you are ready to assemble your soup bowls.
- You can make this a vegetarian minestrone soup by omitting the meat in the recipe and substituting vegetable stock for the chicken stock.
- Homemade minestrone soup tastes so much better the second day so you can make this a day ahead of time or use it as leftovers.
- This minestrone recipe makes a lot of soup, enough for 10 servings. We love leftover soup and we are a family of four. You can half the recipe if you do not need this much.
- Can you freeze leftover soup? Yes. You can freeze the soup (without the pasta) by letting it come to room temperature and then placing it in a freezer proof container in the freezer. Store for up to 2 months.
- To thaw, remove from the freezer and place in the fridge for 24 hours to gently thaw.
- Re-heat, add your soup to a pot over low heat to heat the soup all the way through. To add pasta to the soup, you will need to make a fresh batch and then add that to the bowls when serving.
More Italian Soup Recipes:
- Italian Wedding Soup
- Farro and Kale Minestrone (a winter minestrone)
- Italian Sausage and Tortellini Soup
- Pasta Fagiole
Italian Minestrone- Italian Vegetable Soup
- 1 lb ditalini pasta
- 64 ounces chicken stock (about 2 boxes) good quality
- 30 ounces Cannellini beans (about 2 cans) rinsed and drained
- 14 ounces canned diced tomatoes
- 5 carrots diced
- 2 small zucchini diced
- 1 head of radicchio cut in half and then into thin strips
- 3 cloves garlic
- 1 yellow onion diced
- 4 ounces guanciale or pancetta or ham, diced
- 4 ounces Parmesan shredded plus the rind for the soup
- 1 bay leaf
- ¼ tsp dried oregano
- 2 tbsp olive oil plus more for drizzling over pasta
- 1 tbsp kosher salt plus more to taste
- ½ tsp fresh ground pepper plus more to taste
- ¼ tsp crushed red pepper flakes
- Heat a large heavy bottom pot over medium heat.
- Add olive oil.
- When olive oil is heated, add your red pepper flakes, dried oregano, guanciale and diced onions and cook until the meat is crisp.
- Now add your sliced radicchio, carrots and garlic and cook for 3 minutes.
- Add your chicken stock and diced tomatoes and stir.
- Add your rinsed cannellini beans, kosher salt, Parmesan rind and bay leaf and stir.
- Bring to a simmer then reduce heat to low.
- Cook on low for 10 minutes.
- While the soup is cooking, bring a medium pot of water to a boil for your pasta.
- When water is boiling, add your ditalini pasta and cook until al dente according to manufacturers instructions.
- Drain and rinse pasta when ready and add it back to the pot it was cooking in.
- Drizzle liberally with olive oil and stir to coat the pasta.
- Now add 1 tablespoon of your Parmesan and stir it into the pasta then set aside.
- Once your soup has simmered for 10 minutes, add your diced zucchini and cook for another 5 minutes.
Assembling your bowls
- With a large serving spoon, scoop some of your pasta into a soup bowl.
- Ladle soup over your pasta.
- Top with grated Parmesan.