minestrone x

Winter Minestrone

If you’ve only had canned Minestrone it’s time to revisit. This classic Winter Minestrone is simply a bounty of flavor, hearty and super healthy. I “lifted” the idea of adding the noodles in separately from Tyler Florence, which very nicely solves the problem of unappealing noodles and the muddied flavors that plague some Minestrones.

Winter Minestrone
Winter Minestrone

True confession: we never liked Minestrone before having this, and actually prefer to serve the pasta on the side to be stirred in as we wish – or if we wish. Now we can’t get enough, so it’s a good thing this makes a lot.

Tyler Florence served his with Parmesan Toasts and floated them in the soup like croutons. They look wonderful, but I didn’t make them this time and made my family’s Parmesan Toast instead. The directions for Tyler’s Parmesan Toasts are below.

The cost for this soup was incredibly low for the volume of food it made, $3.87 for 12 servings – primarily because I’ve been shopping the specials and have a well stocked pantry and freezer. Even buying off the shelf at sale prices it still comes in at a great price.

Parmesan Toast
Parmesan Toast


  • Servings: 12, 2 cups each
  • Time: 45 min
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

  • 8 ounces rigatoni or similar pasta, cooked al dente and drained
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 12 ounces Italian sausage
  • 4 medium carrots, roughly chopped
  • 4 celery ribs, roughly chopped
  • 2 onions, roughly chopped
  • 5 cloves garlic, crushed and chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried sage
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 3/4 teaspoon dried rosemary
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 2 quarts low sodium chicken broth
  • 28 ounces crushed tomatoes, canned
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 pound cannelini beans, cooked, or (3 to 4) 15 oz cans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 cups sturdy greens, coarsely torn or chopped (kale or escarole)
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley or 1/4 cup thinly sliced green onion tops
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • coarsely ground black pepper and salt to taste (about a teaspoon of salt and 1/2 to 3/4 teaspoon of pepper)

Bring a pot of salted water to boil for the rigatoni. Cook the rigatoni in the boiling water for 6 minutes; it should be slightly underdone.

In a soup pan, add the sausage and cook, breaking up the sausage with the side of a big spoon until well browned. Chop 1/2 the carrots, celery, and onion in a food processor, almost pureeing them. Remove and chop the other half, leaving them a bit chunky. Add to the saucepan and cook for 3 to 4 minutes, until the vegetables are softened but not browned. Add crushed garlic. Crush the dried herbs in your hand and add to mixture. Cook for about a minute.

Stir in the crushed tomatoes, bay leaves, cannelloni beans, chicken stock and greens. Bring to a simmer and cook for 25 minutes, stirring occasionally.

When ready to serve, add rigatoni into the simmering soup. Add parsley or green onion tops, and the vinegar. Add salt and coarsely ground black pepper, to taste. Discard the bay leaf.

Garnish with Parmesan Toasts, Parsley or thinly sliced green onion


  • We like to keep the pasta on the side and add it to in our bowls as desired
  • This soup has tons of flavor, even with the dried herbs, but don’t be dismayed if you taste it before the 25 minutes simmering time; it takes a bit of time for them to blend and flavor the soup. The salt and pepper and the vinegar make a huge difference at the end.
  • If you use dried parsley, reduce the amount by about 1/2 and add in when you put the rest of the dried herbs in the pot.

from the kitchen of http://www.frugalhausfrau.com, adapted from Tyler Florence

Let’s talk about how to save money/time on this recipe:

  • Use a coupon matching site! One of my favorites in my area is Pocket Your Dollars, but every store has a group of enthusiastic Coupon Matchers. Do not discount the savings! I check their site every week, even if I don’t “need” to go to the store and often find bargains I can’t pass up.
  • Follow my 12 Strategies – You’ll see them on the upper drop down menu of every page and how I apply them, below.
  • Don’t get discouraged if your prices don’t match mine! Keep shopping at the best prices and your fridge/freezer and pantry will be stocked with sales priced ingredients.
  • Read Strategies for additional tips as well as throughout the recipe, for saving time and managing food.

Kitchen & Cooking HacksKitchen & Cooking Hacks

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Per Serving: 319 Calories; 12g Fat (32.9% calories from fat); 19g Protein; 35g Carbohydrate; 7g Dietary Fiber; 22mg Cholesterol; 669mg Sodium.  Exchanges: 1 1/2 Grain(Starch); 1 1/2 Lean Meat; 2 Vegetable; 2 Fat; 0 Other Carbohydrates.

Put Your Own Spin on It:

  • I suggest making the soup once, then next time adjust it to your personalized taste.
  • Speaking of flavor, this soup would be a great candidate to use your leftover parmesan rinds.  This soup is great with cabbage thrown in and no pasta!
  • It’s also a great recipient for leftover veggies:  pieces of squash, or beans, etc.
  • Minestrone is made many different ways in Italy, and the flavors tend to follow the seasons and the location it’s made in – use your good judgement, however.  Use your favorite beans or combinations for a nice change.

Parmesan Toasts: 

Tyler Florence served his soup with parmesan toasts floating in the bowls:  Preheat the broiler. Put  baguette slices in a single layer on a baking sheet. Sprinkle with the Parmigiano and broil until the cheese is bubbly and golden brown, about 3 minutes. Ladle the soup into bowls and float a couple of the baguette slices on top.  Very similar to the way my family makes Parmesan Toast, except this doesn’t have the garlic butter under the Parmesan.

My Pay Off: 

  • What can I say?  Three generous meals for my family; one to eat now, one to eat later, and one to freeze, very healthy, time conscious and wonderful.
  • Oh, yeah, I forgot to mention, cheap, cheap, cheap…and all made with ingredients I pretty much have on hand.
  • I can throw this together from what I have in my freezer, fridge and pantry – and NOT go outside in the freezing cold.

Comments and discussion always welcome - tell me what you think.

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