When it’s cold out, there’s nothing that feeds the body and soul so well as a good hearty soup. And I’m not sure any soup fits the bill so well as Minestrone, an ancient Italian soup that includes pasta and beans, onions and tomatoes and whatever you’ve managed to put up from your summer garden. All Minestrone recipes are loose — what goes in the pot is what you have on hand. But here’s a basic how-to, to give you a place to start.

Makes 6 to 8 servings


  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 5 cloves of garlic
  • 1 1/2 tsp. coarse sea salt, more to taste
  • 1 cup chopped celery or carrots
  • 2 tsp. fresh thyme
  • 2 tsp. fresh rosemary
  • 2 tsp. fresh oregano
  • 1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup cut green beans (fresh or frozen)
  • 1 cup diced bell peppers or zucchini, sliced and quartered
  • 4 cups stock
  • 2 cups tomato purée (or a 14 1/2 ounce can)
  • 1 cup chopped tomatoes (fresh, frozen or canned)
  • 1 cup cooked kidney beans (any beans will do)
  • 2/3 cup dried pasta (something small, mini penne is a good choice)
  • shredded Parmesan for garnish


  1. Heat olive oil in a heavy-bottomed pan or Dutch oven. Add onion, garlic and salt. Sauté over medium heat for about 5 minutes, then add celery and/or carrots, fresh herbs and black pepper. Cover and cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, about 5 minutes.
  2. Add bell peppers, zucchini, green beans (any veggies that don’t need as long to cook). Stir in stock and tomato pureé. Cover and simmer about 5 minutes, until all vegetables are cooked but not quite tender. Add beans.
  3. Bring the soup to a gentle boil. Add pasta, stir, and cook until the pasta is ready, about 10 minutes. Serve, topped with Parmesan, grated on top.