If you are looking for a hearty and delicious soup, this classic Italian minestrone is it. This delicious classic minestrone is filled with vegetables and pasta for a satisfying and comforting Italian meal that is fit for any occasion.
Italians love soup, especially ones loaded with vegetables and pasta. The good news is you don't need to be Italian to make a delicious classic minestrone at home!
One of the things I love most about traveling through Italy is stopping to try as many soups as possible in every town. I love soup and each bowl I have tried in Italy has a story. A story about the regional cuisine, a story about the restaurant, and even a little bit about the person making it.
Each town and region has its own version of classic minestrone soup and there is no wrong way to make it. Just make it with quality ingredients and vegetables that are in season and it will be delicious.
This version is the version that I make for my family. It is similar to one that I had in a small town in the Umbria region of Italy called Castiglione del Lago. Customize it to make it your own and to tell your own story 🙂
What You Will Need
- Unsalted chicken stock: This is the base of this vegetable soup. Like my Italian tomato soup recipe, you can also use chicken broth or vegetable broth if you prefer.
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil: This classic ingredient is for cooking the vegetables and flavoring the soup.
- Pancetta: Pancetta adds so much flavor to this Italian soup. You can also use guanciale or thick sliced ham that is cubed.
- Carrots: This adds to the base flavors of the soup.
- Radicchio: Italian minestrone always has some type of leafy vegetable. You can substitute cabbage or other leafy greens like spinach or Swiss chard if you prefer.
- Onions: Like the carrots, this is going to add so much flavor to the broth.
- Garlic: Fresh garlic is important here.
- Zucchini: I love adding this to my minestrone for texture.
- Cannellini beans: These Italian beans are creamy and add such wonderful texture.
- Diced tomatoes: This blends into the broth for amazing flavor.
- Ditalini pasta: This is the preferred pasta for Italians when making this soup. You can also use shell pasta or small macaroni pasta can also be used.
- Red pepper flakes.
- Parmesan and Parmesan Rind: Italians love adding the Parmesan rind to soup because it melts into the broth and adds so much flavor.
- Seasoning: This is a bay leaf, dried oregano, kosher salt and pepper.
How to Make Italian Minestrone Soup
This classic minestrone soup is so easy! It may seem like lots of ingredients but those are all the layers of delicious flavor that are in the soup. Here is how to make it (full recipe below):
- Cook aromatics: You start your soup by sautéing your pancetta, red pepper flakes, and onions in olive oil until the meat crisps up and the onions are translucent.
- Saute vegetables: Once your meat and onions are ready you will add in the rest of your vegetables and sauté them until they soften. The only vegetable you will leave out is the zucchini since they are added in towards the end so they retain some texture. It is the same way I cook it in my zucchini soup.
- Add broth and seasonings: Here your vegetables are cooked down then you will add your stock, beans, and bay leaf.
- The Parmesan Rind: Now add your Parmesan rind, salt, and pepper then mix well and let simmer on low for 15 minutes.
- Cook pasta: Cook and drain your pasta and add it back to the pot that it was cooked in. Drizzle liberally with olive oil and toss well so the pasta does not stick together. After adding the olive oil, add a good handful of freshly grated Parmesan and mix that in to coat the pasta.
- Assemble: Add the pasta to bowls and ladle the soup over the top. Make sure to serve the soup with freshly grated Parmesan for topping!
The vegetables that are used in this Italian minestrone recipe can be substituted with whatever vegetables you have on hand or are in season. This version is an all-year type of soup but for seasonal ideas here are some suggestions:
- Add all winter vegetables for a winter minestrone. I do this with my farro minestrone and it is delicious.
- You can use summer vegetables for a lighter summer minestrone. Just use your favorite in-season summer veggies like squash or green beans.
Tips for Success
This authentic Italian-style minestrone is basically foolproof. It is all about cooking with what you have on hand and what is in season.
My number one tip for this recipe is to follow the instructions for cooking the pasta separately so there is no mushy pasta!
My second tip that will ensure this soup is perfect is to make sure you add freshly grated black pepper and Parmesan to the soup bowls when serving.
How to store and reheat leftovers
You can freeze the soup (without the pasta) by letting it come to room temperature and then placing it in a freezer-proof container in the freezer. Store it for up to 2 months.
This Italian soup also stores well in the fridge (and even tastes better the next day). To reheat this soup just add your soup to a pot over low heat until the soup is heated all the way through. To add pasta to the soup, you will need to make a fresh batch and then add that to the bowls when serving.
I love to pair this classic minestrone with:
More Classic Italian Recipes
If you love classic Italian recipes like this minestrone, you may also like these:
Minestrone Soup With Pasta And Vegetables
- 1 lb ditalini pasta
- 64 ounces chicken stock good quality
- 30 ounces Cannellini beans rinsed and drained
- 14 ounces canned diced tomatoes
- 2 cups carrots diced
- 2 cups zucchini diced
- 1 head of radicchio cut in half and then into thin strips
- 3 cloves garlic diced
- 1 yellow onion diced
- 4 ounces pancetta diced
- 4 ounces Parmesan shredded plus the rind for the soup
- 1 bay leaf
- ¼ teaspoon dried oregano
- 2 tablespoon olive oil plus more for drizzling over pasta
- 1 tablespoon kosher salt plus more to taste
- ½ teaspoon fresh ground pepper plus more to taste
- ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- Heat a large heavy bottom pot over medium heat.
- Add olive oil.2 tablespoon olive oil
- When olive oil is heated, add your red pepper flakes, dried oregano, pancetta and diced onions and cook until the meat is crisp.4 ounces pancetta, ¼ teaspoon dried oregano, ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, 1 yellow onion
- Now add your sliced radicchio, carrots and garlic and cook for 3 minutes.2 cups carrots, 1 head of radicchio, 3 cloves garlic
- Add your chicken stock and diced tomatoes and stir.64 ounces chicken stock, 14 ounces canned diced tomatoes
- Add your rinsed cannellini beans, kosher salt, Parmesan rind and bay leaf and stir.30 ounces Cannellini beans, 1 tablespoon kosher salt, 1 bay leaf
- Bring to a simmer then reduce heat to low.
- Cook on low for 10 minutes.
- While the soup is cooking, bring a medium pot of water to a boil for your pasta.
- When water is boiling, add your ditalini pasta and cook until al dente according to manufacturers instructions.1 lb ditalini pasta
- Drain and rinse pasta when ready and add it back to the pot it was cooking in.
- Drizzle liberally with olive oil and stir to coat the pasta.
- Now add 1 tablespoon of your Parmesan and stir it into the pasta then set aside.4 ounces Parmesan
- Once your soup has simmered for 10 minutes, add your diced zucchini and cook for another 5 minutes.2 cups zucchini
- Add black pepper and mix well.½ teaspoon fresh ground pepper
- Scoop about a cup of pasta into bowls then ladle soup over the top.
- Serve with extra Parmesan on the side.