Italian Minestrone Soup with Crispy Pancetta
Italian Minestrone Soup with Crispy Pancetta is a super easy and even quick vegetable soup to make when you’re craving healthy, hardy but simple food. Rustic and easy to make any day of the week.
If you’re a soup lover like me, I’m confident you’ve made countless versions of minestrone soup. In fact, you can find plenty of recipes for variations here at 31Daily too!
What makes this soup recipe a bit different is adding crispy pancetta. I can’t describe how incredibly delicious it is! In fact, it’s flavor permeates the broth bringing deliciousness to the whole bowl of warm healthy goodness.
Often minestrone soup is a dish we make to use up leftover vegetables. So feel free to experiment with the ingredients in this soup and adapt to your favorites, what you have on hand, or what’s in season at the market.
And if you’re browsing minestrone soup recipes, you may want to take a look at these recipes too:
- Spring Minestrone Soup Recipe
- Minestrone Soup with Orzo and Kale
- Hearty Country-Style Minestrone Soup with Kale
- A Classic Ribollita: Tuscan Bean Soup Recipe
What to Love About This Minestrone Soup
- Easy to make in around 30 minutes.
- Contains most pantry ingredients and seasonal vegetables.
- Is easily adaptable to the ingredients you have on hand or prefer (which is why I LOVE soup)!
Minestrone and its Ancient Origins
Marcus Apicius’s ancient cookbook De Re Coquinaria describes an ancient Roman soup dating to 30 CE containing farro, chickpeas, and fava beans along with onions, garlic, and greens.
Recipes for this classic Italian soup varies from season to season, and region to region. Not to mention family recipes passed down through the generations.
The National Post says, “In the northern region of Lombardy… minestrone might include pasta and winter squash; farther south, in Tuscany, cannellini beans and cabbage or kale; in the coastal city of Genoa in the northwestern region of Liguria, it would be finished with pesto.”
This Italian Minestrone Soup Ingredients
While minestrone soups vary in ingredients and methods, I believe this simple soup is deserving of a spot in your soup-making calendar.
Not only is this soup simple, the ingredients are equally easy to come by. The specific ingredient measurements are in the recipe card below, but this will give you an idea of what’s in the soup and potential variations.
- Olive oil: I’m using extra virgin for heart-healthy fat and antioxidants. You can see the difference between regular olive oil and extra virgin olive oil in the “Tips” section below.
- Aromatics: Medium onion, garlic cloves, carrots, small leek, and celery. Note on the vegetables: I like to use large size carrots and celery. When all I can get at the market is a small size, I use 2 of each.
- Seasoning: Thyme (either fresh or dried)
- Tomato paste for intense tomato flavor
- Pancetta: When buying pancetta at the market, I like to look for diced pancetta to save myself a step. You can also substitute it for bacon.
- Vegetable stock, or chicken stock works equally well too.
- Small, short pasta: I like to use ditalini pasta, but any short, tube shaped pasta works well. You can even use broken pieces of spaghetti if you wish. Just keep the pasta on the smaller side.
- Baby spinach, kale, or any green of choice
- Grated Parmesan for serving
How to Make Minestrone Soup
This is such a quick and easy soup to make. Step-by-step instructions are in the recipe card below, but here is a quick overview:
Sauté onion, garlic, and pancetta in a soup pot until softened.
Add thyme, carrots, leek, celery, and tomato paste.
Pour in the broth; bring to a boil and then reduce the heat to gently simmer for 15 minutes.
Then stir in the dry pasta and cook until al-dente. Toss in the spinach and cook until wilted. Ladle into soup bowls and top with grated Parmesan cheese.
Helpful Kitchen Equipment
You will need a medium size soup pot or Dutch oven. I’m using my very favorite 4-quart Dutch Oven I purchased at Amazon. It’s the perfect size for this recipe.
A good chef’s knife is super helpful for chopping the vegetables. You will also need a vegetable peeler for the carrots.
Italian Minestrone Soup Questions & Tips
Wandering your market’s isle looking at olive oil, you may have wondered what the difference is between olive oil and extra virgin olive oil. The difference is in the processing. Olive oil is heated to extract the oil and then refined while extra virgin olive is unrefined and cold-pressed. Extra virgin olive oil has a distinct flavor making it perfect in dressings, dips, and as a finishing oil. Regular olive oil has a more neutral flavor.
There isn’t a lot of difference between the two. Often minestrone soup is a hardier version of vegetable soup, often made with pasta or beans, and is made with traditional Italian ingredients and seasonings.
More Soup Recipes You May Also Love
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Italian Minestrone Soup with Crispy Pancetta
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 medium onion finely chopped
- 3 garlic cloves minced
- 1 to 2 pancetta slices or bacon slices
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme or 3 sprigs fresh
- 1 large carrot quartered and thinly sliced
- 1/2 small leek halved and thinly sliced (white and pale green parts)
- 1 celery rib thinly sliced
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 4 cups vegetable stock or chicken stock
- 1/4 cup dry small pasta
- 2 cups baby spinach
- grated Parmesan for serving
- Heat oil in a heavy-bottom saucepan or small Dutch oven. Sauté the onion, garlic, and pancetta until softened, stirring frequently.
- Add the thyme, carrots, leek, celery, tomato paste, and broth to the pot. Bring to a boil and then reduce the heat to maintain a simmer. Season with salt and pepper to taste and simmer gently for 15 minutes.
- Stir in the dry pasta and cook for another 6 to 8 minutes, or until al-dente. Stir in the spinach and cook another minutes until wilted.
- To serve, ladle the soup into soup bowls with toasted Italian bread and grated Parmesan cheese.
Nutritional information is only an estimate. The accuracy of the nutritional information for any recipe on this site is not guaranteed.