Winter Minestrone



  • ½ pound dried cannellini beans

  • 1 dried bay leaf

  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for serving

  • 1 large onion, coarsely chopped

  • 2 cloves garlic, minced

  • 1 carrot, peeled and sliced crosswise ¼ inch thick

  • 1 celery stalk, sliced crosswise ¼ inch thick

  • 2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh rosemary

  • 3 teaspoons finely chopped fresh thyme

  • 1 cup whole canned tomatoes, with their juice, crushed

  • 1 pound butternut squash, peeled and cut into ½-inch cubes

  • 1 medium russet potato, cut into ½-inch cubes

  • 1 bunch kale (preferably Tuscan), thick stems removed and leaves cut crosswise into 1-inch ribbons (about 8 cups)

  • 3 -inch piece Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese rind, plus grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, for serving

  • 1 tablespoon coarse salt, plus more if needed

  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground pepper, plus more if needed

  • 2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh sage

  • ¼ teaspoon crushed red-pepper flakes


  1. Place beans in a medium bowl. Add enough cold water to cover by 2 inches. Let soak overnight. Drain, and set aside.

  2. In a large pot, combine 8 cups of water, drained beans, and bay leaf. Bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, and cook, partially covered, until beans are almost tender, about 1 hour.

  3. In a medium saute pan, heat oil over medium heat. Add onion, garlic, carrot, celery, rosemary, and 2 teaspoons thyme. Cook, covered, until onions begin to soften, about 10 minutes. Stir in tomatoes, and bring to a simmer. Cook for 2 minutes. Add vegetable mixture to beans.

  4. Stir in squash, potato, kale, cheese rind, salt, and pepper. Add enough water to just cover (about 6 cups), and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, and cook, covered, until potatoes and beans are tender, about 25 minutes.

  5. If desired, to thicken the soup, use the back of a spoon to mash about 2 cups of beans, squash, and potato against the side of the pot. Add sage, remaining teaspoon of thyme, and crushed red pepper. Taste, and adjust for seasoning. Garnish with grated cheese and a drizzle of olive oil, if desired. Serve immediately.

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