Sunday, January 26, 2014

Beef and Cannellini Bean Minestrone

Here in Kentucky we are used to mild winters.  By mild I mean we usually get one or two good snowfalls each winter and if we're lucky it's just enough snow for the kiddos to play in.  We have some cold days, but we hardly ever experience subzero temps.  This winter is a different animal altogether and wow....we are not prepared for it here.  At all!

The kids have been out of school for twelve days since they started back in January.  Last week they had a snow day every single day! Yes, no school all week long!  After you spend ten or twelve days trapped in the house things begin to go downhill.  At a rapid pace. Expect to find your children barking at the wall and talking back to you like it's their job.  Seriously.  At one point my preteen daughter answered back "No, I will not comb my hair because I'm Miley Cyrus and I do what I want." This is real life.  

Now I don't know about you, but being snowed in calls for comfort food and lots of it. I had so much fun planning belly-warming-feel-good meals. I roasted a chicken, made a pot roast, tried my hand at chicken and dumplings from scratch, and also made this Beef and Cannellini Bean soup.  Let me tell you...dinner time was great!  Everyone was so busy eating and cleaning their bowls that things became rather peaceful.  Those few minutes in the middle of a hectic day were a real saving grace.   

We really enjoyed this hearty beefed up version of minestrone.  My family requested I add some pasta to the recipe and I think it was a great addition. However, I'm sure this would be really tasty as written, even without the pasta. This is a simple recipe but the flavor is really terrific. I loved topping mine with lots of Parmesan cheese. 

Beef and Cannellini Bean Minestrone
Recipe by Giada DeLaurentiis
Serves 4-6

3 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, finely diced
1 large carrot, peeled and diced into 1/4-inch pieces
1 rib celery, trimmed and diced into 1/4-inch pieces
  salt and freshly ground black pepper
8 ounces lean ground beef
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon tomato paste
4 cups beef broth
1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes
1 (15-ounce) can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
About 1-1/2 cups pasta*
1 dried bay leaf
1/2 cup grated Parmesan

*Note: I added about 1-1/2 cups pasta shells to the recipe because adding pasta is always a good idea (you may wish to add a little extra beef broth or water to the soup if adding pasta as it tends to thicken up a little more)

In a large saucepan or Dutch oven, add the oil and heat over medium heat. Stir in the onion, carrot and celery and season with salt and pepper, to taste. Cook, stirring frequently, until the vegetables are soft, about 5 minutes. Increase the heat to high and add the ground beef and garlic. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Cook until the beef is browned and cooked through, about 6 to 7 minutes. Stir in the tomato paste and mix to combine. Add the broth, tomatoes, beans, and bay leaf. Bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook until the liquid has reduced by half, about 30 minutes (if you're adding pasta go ahead and add it about 20 minutes into the cooking.  The pasta only needs about ten minutes to cook in the soup). Remove the bay leaf and discard. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Ladle the soup into bowls and garnish with Parmesan.


  1. Minestrone is perfect for a cold snowy day. I have a couple marked in some ckbks. I think just this one instead.

  2. Hmmm yeah that would almost certainly be driving me crazy! But at least you could all enjoy dinner together without any craziness! THis soup looks like it definitely brings people together.

  3. That looks sooo good and perfect for a cold day! I'd love a bowl of this for dinner today and I know my family would appreciate it too, especially with the added pasta.

  4. Looks very yum. I know what you mean about cabin fever. I'm in the Pacific Northwest and although our winters aren't usually severe we do get a lot of gloomy, wet days and comfort food and a crackling fire sure do help the mood.

  5. This is perfect for warming up. We are about to get another round of ice and snow. My nerves haven't recovered from being house-bound last week. I wasn't trapped with Miley Cyrus, but mine was still a sassy pants. A bowl of this is sure to tame the sass and stop the barking (so funny, btw).

  6. I can just imagine being cooped up with energetic kids. Thank god food works ever time time. Your soup looks ideal for a cold day.

  7. My blood has thinned so much living here I don't think I could survive a winter there. ;-) This soup certainly looks like it would help though. You have to love the comfort of a big bowl of minestrone--yum!

    Let me know if you want me to add it to this coming Souper Sundays post.

  8. Hi Kim,
    Yum, this looks so delicious! And a great idea to add the pasta, it makes a comforting one pot meal!
    I have always wanted to experience snow! :)

  9. Seriously, I am so full of admiration for parents who can manage to survive a month of snow days without maiming or causing serious bodily harm to their children. Ditto two months of summer holidays - though at least then you have the luxury of being able to send kids outside!!

    This minestrone though looks like the kind of dish that would make everything right. Seriously comforting, and let's face it - who can bicker when you've got a mouthful of that?! This looks so good, I've got it bookmarked for when winter rolls around, and I think the pasta was the perfect addition - full marks to the kiddos for requesting that.


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