Minestrone Weather

The key to this hearty minestrone soup is starting with a rich roasted tomato sauce.

Bowl of minestrone soup with slices of pumpernickel bread

Living in Southern California, I’ve come to accept the fact that it will often still get up in the 80s in October. (That doesn’t mean I approve.) Given my east coast sensibilities and predilection for fall weather, the first day I see that it will dip into the 60s I’m ready to light a fire and make a hearty soup.

I adapted this minestrone recipe from Nigella Lawson’s Nigella Express cookbook (affiliate link), which focuses on delicious recipes that don’t take hours to prepare. It’s perfect for crisp fall days and rainy winter (or snowy) evenings, wherever you may live. It’s also quite easy and happens to be a great dish to serve a large gathering since you can do much of it ahead of time and spend time with your guests as they’re arriving.

To me the key is the tomato sauce which serves as your base, and luckily you can dig into the Eating Rules archives—from October Unprocessed no less—to find the perfect roasted tomato sauce from Beth Lee of OMG Yummy.

Overview view of a pot of minestrone soup, simmering on the stove

There’s a lot of versatility when it comes to ingredients, but you’ll definitely want to add beans, vegetable or chicken stock, and some kind of soup pasta. Nigella calls for ditalini, which I love, but you can get away with whatever small shape you’d like—from elbows to shells to cavatelli. I add vegetables to mine to add a little more heft, but that’s optional.

Even when temperatures are hovering around 80 in October, nights are usually cool and begging for a soup like this. Enjoy with a glass of Sangiovese, Côtes du Rhône, or your favorite medium-bodied red, and an October Unprocessed-approved crusty bread.

Bowl of minestrone soup with slices of pumpernickel bread

Bowl of minestrone soup with slices of pumpernickel bread
5 from 3 votes
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Minestrone Soup

The key to this hearty minestrone soup is starting with a rich roasted tomato sauce.

Course Soup
Cuisine Italian
Keyword homemade minestrone soup, minestrone soup from scratch
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Tomato sauce prep time 1 hour 5 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 45 minutes
Yield 3 servings
Calories 320 kcal
Author Matty Wilder

Ingredients

  • 1 1/4 cup roasted tomato sauce
  • 2-3 tablespoons extra-vrigin olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon celery seed
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 3-4 carrots chopped
  • 3-4 celery stalks chopped
  • 1 yellow onion medium, chopped
  • 1 pinch sea salt optional
  • 1 14-ounce can beans cannellini, kidney, mixed, whatever you prefer, drained
  • 3 cups stock chicken or vegetable
  • 4 oz soup pasta ditalini or cavatelli

Instructions

  1. Prepare the roasted tomato sauce according to instructions. You’ll have much more than you’ll need for this recipe, so jar it up and use in the next few days or freeze for later.

  2. Warm olive oil in a large stockpot or Dutch oven, over medium heat. Add celery seed and thyme and heat until fragrant.

  3. Add vegetables and cook, stirring often, until they soften. You may want to add a pinch or two of salt here, but I don’t as I find the tomato sauce has enough for our palates. To each their own.

  4. Stir in the beans, stock, and sauce, and bring to a boil, then add the pasta and cook, according to package instructions or until desired texture. (I tend to slightly overcook pasta in soups—it just adds to the overall goodness, I think.)

  5. When the pasta has reached your desired tenderness, turn off the heat and let sit for a few minutes to allow the soup to work its additional magic—the flavors will only get better.

  6. Serve in whatever bowl or vessel you like, and grate some Parmesan or other hard cheese over top if it pleases.

Recipe Notes

This recipe is easily doubled - but Beth's tomato sauce recipe makes more than enough, so you don't need to double that if doing so.

About the Author

Matty Wilder is senior program officer for The Herb Alpert Foundation where he works with a range of arts organizations and special projects throughout the greater Los Angeles area. He also serves as board chair of LA Voice Action, the action fund of LA Voice, and a board member of Project X Foundation for Art and Criticism.

His background is in theater and photography and he holds a BA in Liberal Arts from Bennington College and an MPA from the USC Sol Price School of Public Policy. Matty enjoys cooking with his husband Andrew… and wearing layers.

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Lorrie
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Lorrie

The soup looks delicious–will definitely make. I try to make all of the soup we eat to cut down on the sodium (my husband has high blood pressure). . Sent by a friend.