Looking for the perfect minestrone soup? We've got you covered. This classic fall soup packs a savory punch thanks to pasture raised bacon ends – the small chunks that are leftover after slicing strips of bacon. Those are fried up golden and crispy with onions, carrots, celery, garlic, and thyme...your kitchen is guaranteed to smell amazing while cooking this. Fire roasted crushed tomatoes, homemade pasture raised chicken stock, creamy cannellini beans, and ditalini pasta round it all out into the soup we know and love – with one more trick up its sleeve – pesto! Stir a little in at the end to add a bright, herbaceous kick and send your tastebuds to heaven. Serve with toasted baguette or garlic bread, and plenty of freshly grated parmesan. Let's get cooking!
- 1-1.5 Lb. 1915 Farm Pasture Raised Bacon Ends, chopped smaller if necessary. Or 1 Lb. 1915 Farm Pasture Raised Bacon, chopped into pieces.
- 1 medium yellow onion, finely diced
- 3 large carrots, finely diced
- 3 stalks of celery, finely diced
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 4-5 cloves of garlic, minced or grated
- 5-6 sprigs of thyme, leaves stripped from stems and chopped
- 28 oz. can of fire roasted crushed tomatoes (the basil variety works great too)
- 6 cups chicken stock, homemade is always best especially for soup ;)
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 can of cannellini beans (15 oz), drained and rinsed
- 2 cups ditalini (or other small pasta), cooked*
- 8 oz. fresh baby spinach (optional)
- 2 Tbsp. pesto
- Freshly grated parmesan cheese, for serving
- Garlic bread or toasted, buttered baguette for serving
*It may be tempting to add the uncooked pasta to the soup and let it cook in the broth, BUT I would advise against this. When pasta cooks, it releases a ton of starch, which will thicken your soup and dilute the flavors somewhat. It's best to cook your pasta to al dente, then stir it into the soup for the best result.
Heat a large heavy pot over medium heat. Add about 2 tbsp olive oil, and once hot, add the bacon ends and reduce heat to medium low for 8-10 minutes. Stir occasionally and cook until bacon beginning to crisp up. Add the onions, carrots, celery, and a couple pinches of kosher salt and sauté for 6-8 minutes. Add garlic and thyme until fragrant.
Next, add the tomatoes, chicken stock, bay leaf. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer (uncovered) for 30 minutes. In the meantime, cook ditalini pasta in salted water, drain and do not rinse. Add the cooked pasta and beans to the soup. Stir in the pesto, then taste and adjust seasoning, adding more salt & some freshly ground pepper at this point. If using spinach, add just before serving, so the leaves slightly wilt but remain bright green.
Serve in large shallow bowls with freshly grated parmesan over top, with garlic bread or buttered, toasted baguette for dipping.
We hope you enjoyed this recipe! If you'd like to share your delicious dish on Instagram, don't forget to tag us @1915_Farm
P.S. If you love our pasture raised heritage breed pork chorizo and breakfast sausage – consider subscribing to the Grassroots Meat Club (ships free in TX, reduced in other states). Each box includes a variety of hand-selected grassfed and pasture raised meats, such as chicken breasts, chicken tenders, leg quarters, wings, thighs, drumsticks, whole chicken, ground beef, kabobs, stew meat, stir fry, cutlets, London broil (top round), beef roasts, beef osso buco, short ribs, various sausages, pork roasts, pork chops, bacon, ground pork, fajita meat, country style ribs, spare ribs, and bacon!
Recipe adapted from Barefoot Contessa