Recipe Review

Giada de Laurentiis’ Smart Secret for Better Minestrone Soup

published Jan 2, 2022
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Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman; Food Styling: Jesse Szewczyk; Headshot: Getty Images

One of my all-time favorite soup recipes is Giada de Laurentiis’ pasta e fagioli. I’ve tweaked it here and there over the years to make it my own, but it’s still a soup my husband and I crave the instant there’s a chill in the air. So when I came across her take on minestrone soup, I knew I had to try it. While her recipe is full of the good things you expect in classic minestrone soup, such as a mix of vegetables and beans, it also have a few extras like pancetta and Swiss chard. Here’s how things went when I made it at home.

Get the recipe: Giada de Laurentiis’ Winter Minestrone Soup

Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman; Food Styling: Jesse Szewczyk; Headshot: Getty Images

How to Make Giada de Laurentiis’ Winter Minestrone Soup

You’ll start by sautéing chopped onion, chopped carrots, celery, pancetta, and minced garlic in olive oil until softened. Add chopped Swiss chard and cubed potato, along with can of diced tomatoes and a fresh rosemary sprig, then simmer until the chard is wilted and the tomatoes break down, about 10 minutes.

Drain and rinse a can of cannellini beans and blend 3/4 cup of the beans with 1/4 cup of beef broth in a food processor until smooth. Pour the purée into the soup pot, add more beef broth and a Parmesan cheese rind, and simmer until the potato is tender, about 15 minutes. Sir in the remaining whole cannellini beans and chopped fresh parsley, then simmer for a few more minutes, remove and discard the Parmesan rind, and serve.

Credit: Sheela Prakash

My Honest Review of Giada de Laurentiis’ Winter Minestrone Soup

This soup was as tasty as I hoped it would be. I loved the addition of pancetta, which lent just the right amount of flavor and saltiness to the broth. It didn’t detract from the abundance of vegetables, though. The Swiss chard gave heft to each spoonful and while I worried I would miss pasta, which is often an ingredient in minestrone, I found myself preferring the tender cubes of potatoes that took its place.

It’s Giada’s smart trick of blending some of the beans that really made this soup special. While it did mean there were a few extra things to clean, it helped thicken the soup and gave it a really nice texture. Tossing a Parmesan rind into the soup while it simmered also gave it depth of flavor, which isn’t always the case with such quick-cooking recipes.

This minestrone didn’t hold up quite as well as I expected it to, which is why I took a point off. The chard became a bit murky and the potatoes began to fall apart. It was still enjoyable to eat, but not quite the same. Regardless, it’s a recipe I definitely see myself making again.

Credit: Joe Lingeman and Jesse Szewczyk

If You’re Making Giada de Laurentiis’ Winter Minestrone Soup, a Few Tips

  1. Feel free to use diced pancetta. The recipe calls for thinly sliced pancetta that you’ll coarsely chop. I asked the butcher at my local Italian market to slice some pancetta for me, but if you’re having trouble finding it, pre-diced pancetta is much easier to find in most grocery stores these days and can be used instead.
  2. Swap out the beef broth if you like. I personally don’t love the flavor of beef broth and have yet to come across a store-bought version that’s any good, so when I make this recipe again, I’ll use low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth in place of the beef broth. Whichever broth you choose, you can use 1 (32-ounce) carton instead of the 2 (14-ounce) cans, since there seem to be more carton options on shelves than cans.
  3. Use any hearty green. Chopped kale, mustard greens, or even baby spinach would be a nice replacement for the Swiss chard. If you opt for spinach, wait to add it until the point where you stir in the whole beans.

Overall rating: 9/10

Have you tried Giada de Laurentiis’ Winter Minestrone Soup? Let us know in the comments.