hearty minestrone

For variations, try kale instead of spinach (cook it for about 10 minutes instead) or quinoa instead of pasta.

  • 1/2 pound small rigatoni
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 2 carrots, peeled and diced
  • 2 celery ribs (plus some leaves) diced
  • Kosher salt, to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 clove garlic, finely minced
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 4-5 cups low-sodium vegetable stock
  • 1 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes
  • 2 15-ounce cans cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh rosemary
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1-inch piece Parmigiano-Reggiano rind
  • 2 cups packed fresh spinach
  • Roughly chopped fresh flat-leaf Italian parsley, for garnish
  • Freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, for garnish
  1. Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Add pasta and cook until just al dente, about 7 minutes. Drain and set aside.
  2. In a large stockpot or Dutch oven, add oil and place over medium heat. Add onions, carrots, and celery and cook until softened, 10-15 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Add garlic and tomato paste and cook for another minute. 
  3. Add 1 cup stock to deglaze pan, scraping up browned bits from bottom of pan. Add another 3 cups stock, tomatoes, cannellini beans, rosemary, bay leaf, and Parmigiano-Reggiano rind, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 40-50 minutes, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are softened. 
  4. Add pasta and spinach and cook for another 5 minutes, until spinach is just wilted and pasta is warmed through. Add more stock if soup is too thick. Remove and discard Parmigiano-Reggiano rind and bay leaf. Spoon soup into bowls, garnish with parsley and Parmigiano-Reggiano and serve warm.

Serves 4-6.