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Steaming and hearty, this Winter Minestrone is packed full of vegetables like spinach and butternut squash, boosted with the smokiness of a little bacon. Perfect for a cold night with some crusty bread.
In a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat, add the olive oil and bacon. Cook bacon until brown and crisp. Add the onions, carrots, celery, squash, garlic, and thyme. Cook everything in the bacon grease, stirring frequently, about 8-10 minutes, until the vegetables begin to soften and the onions are translucent. Add the tomatoes, chicken broth, bay leaf, red pepper (if using) and a generous amount of salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, lower the heat and cover the pot. Simmer 30 minutes.
This is a good time to boil and drain your pasta.
After 30 minutes discard the bay leaf. Add the beans, cooked pasta, fresh spinach, white wine and pesto. Stir to combine and heat through. Taste for seasoning and add more salt and pepper as needed.
Serve with grated Parmesan cheese and crusty bread.
- I added a nice little pinch of red pepper flakes during cooking but you don’t have to.
- Adapted from Ina Garten via Crave by Random House.
Across from a row of rough board stands selling vegetables, fruits and local crafts is Number 59 Avenue de la Justice in the city of Kinshasa. A plain, white storefront with a small sign at the side of the front door: Alimentation la Baviere. Baviere is a little Portuguese-run grocery store. During the years of my weekly shopping trips there, the makings for this traditional Portuguese soup were always on the shelves.
Nancy is the Coupon Clipping Cook, which means she not only has an astounding number of recipes to share with us (her TK recipe box is busting at the seams!) but she's also got loads of money-saving tips in her blog (she worked at a grocery store for a number of years, so she knows her stuff). She has some pretty amazing creations, like Roasted Garlic Potato Soup and Nutty Coconut Chicken. Go check them out!
Heather is a Texas native and the blogger behind Heather's Dish. She's mom to Weston, wife to Nate, and they live in Little Rock, Arkansas with their two "stubborn and saucy" dogs Bunker and Keira. In her blog, she shares her photographs, random musings (serious and silly alike), and all kinds of scrumptious recipes---and not just evil variations of her favorite mac and cheese. Her enviable TK recipe box is a testament to that. Go see for yourself!