Fall Minestrone Soup
Nothing says comfort food as much as soup does! There is just something so comforting about a warm bowl of soup when you are tired, sick, or on cold days. Fall is here, so I thought that I would use some of my favorite fall ingredients to create a really great fall soup. I use butternut squash all of the time in the fall, because it adds a nice sweetness to savory dishes. Since you can only get it in the fall, I try to use as much of it as possible.
For this fall soup, I was inspired by traditional minestrone, but I wanted to keep it veggie-based. Many minestrones are made with pancetta, which makes it taste completely amazing, but I wanted to keep this one on the lighter and healthier side. The star of this soup is the butternut squash, but the thing that makes it really special....the pesto!! So you cannot skip it! I promise! It brings everything together and just adds an amazing freshness and flavor punch to the soup. Of course, you can use the pesto in some other things as well, because you know how much I love pesto, but I'm telling you...pesto in soup is life changing.
Tips for making perfect Fall Minestrone Soup
*Don't burn the garlic! Once you add the garlic, make sure to cook it just until it is fragrant. If you burn it, then you need to start over. There is no going back.
*Don't overcook the pasta! You want to cook the pasta until it is just al dente, meaning it has a bite to it. It will cook more once you add it to the soup.
*If you are making this soup ahead of time, it is a good idea to make the pasta fresh when you are ready to serve it, but make the actually soup and pesto ahead of time.
*Make the pesto!! It's worth it!
*Use fire roasted tomatoes! If you can find them, they are so good!
Fall Minestrone Soup
3-4 shallots, finely chopped (about 1/2 cup)
2 small or 1 large garlic glove, minced
3 tablespoons tomato paste
1 tablespoon finely chopped sage
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes, optional (add more or less if you like)
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 14oz can diced tomatoes; crushed can be used as well if you like smaller pieces of tomatoes (I really like the fire roasted tomatoes, if you can find them!)
1 14 oz can cannelloni beans, drained and rinsed
32oz vegetable stock (4 cups)
1 cup macaroni pasta, uncooked
2 cups cooked butternut squash cut into about 1/2 inch cubes (if it is a little more or less than 2 cups it is fine)
3-4 tablespoons fresh sage
1 cup fresh basil
1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
1 garlic clove
8 tablespoons olive oil, or enough to make the pesto able to drizzle off a spoon
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees
Peel the butternut squash, and cut into 1/2 inch cubes
Place on a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil and toss with olive oil and salt
Bake until softened, about 30 minutes
In a large heavy pot, heat a few tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat
Add in the shallots with a sprinkle of salt, and cook until softened
Add in the garlic, red pepper flakes, and sage, cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds
Stir in the tomato paste
Stir in the wine
Pour in the tomatoes, vegetable stock, beans, and cooked butternut squash
Stir everything together, bring to a boil, then lower to a simmer
Bring another pot to a boil, add salt and pasta and cook until just al dente; you want to make sure the pasta is undercooked because it will cook more when you add it to the soup
Add the cooked pasta to the soup
Make the pesto by placing the sage, basil, grated parmesan cheese, and garlic into a food processor, and slowly add in the olive oil until you achieve the right consistency; you want the pesto to be able to drizzle off of a spoon
Serve the hot soup in a bowl and drizzle some of the pesto over the soup