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Winter Minestrone For the Soul

Katherine Guzman | November 18, 2013 | Story Ingredient

Home sick with rain in the forecast? Us too. This hearty Winter Minestrone from David Tanis’ newest cookbook, One Good Dish (released last month), is what we’re cooking up for some soul-soothing tonight.

The third in Tanis’ cookbook repertoire, One Good Dish, focuses on delicious, simply-prepared dishes that can be enjoyed in any context. “It’s a very user-friendly book, the recipes are very simple,” Tanis tells us, “and they’re all really appealing.” From snacks and condiments to sweets—and even cocktails—the recipes are so approachable (and delicious) that cooking the book cover to cover in a week is an entirely feasible task.

We asked the Chez Panisse chef of nearly 30 years what is the one good dish he’d prepare from One Good Dish everyday, if he could: “Garlic toast, it’s one of the simplest recipes in the book. It’s basically the best thing in the world—toasted bread rubbed with garlic and a little sprinkling of good olive oil.” We bet that would go perfectly alongside a steamy bowl of this soup.

You’re welcome.

Winter Minestrone
Serves 4 to 6
This is not a vegetable-laden summer minestrone. It’s mostly about earthy, creamy, slowly cooked white beans with accents of pancetta, roasted winter squash, and rosemary. Choose sweet, firm-fleshed squashes like kabocha, delicata, or butternut. 

3 tablespoons olive oil
2 medium onions, cut into small dice
Salt and pepper
¼ pound pancetta or bacon, sliced into ¼-inch-wide strips
3 garlic cloves, minced
½ teaspoon crushed fennel seeds
¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 pound dried cannellini beans, soaked overnight in cold water and drained
6 cups water
1 pound winter squash, peeled and cut into ½-inch cubes
½ pound small pasta, such as tubetti or orrechiette, cooked until al dente and drained
2 teaspoons chopped rosemary
Fruity olive oil for drizzling

1. In a heavy soup pot, heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the onions, season with salt, and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the pancetta, garlic, fennel seeds, and red pepper flakes and cook for 2 minutes. Add the beans and water, bring to a simmer, and cook gently until the beans are very tender, about 1½ hours.

2. Meanwhile, heat the oven to 400°F. Put the squash cubes on a baking sheet, season with salt and pepper, and coat with the remaining tablespoon olive oil. Roast until tender and lightly caramelized, about 30 minutes. Set aside to cool. Adjust the seasoning of the beans and broth with salt and pepper. Gently stir in the cooked squash and pasta and heat through.

3. To serve, ladle into bowls. Sprinkle each serving with a pinch of freshly chopped rosemary and a drizzle of fruity olive oil.

Excerpted from One Good Dish by David Tanis (Artisan Books). Copyright ©2013. Photographs by Gentl & Hyers.

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