Chef John's Minestrone Soup


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 ounces chopped pancetta
  • 1onion, diced
  • 1 cup diced celery
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 2 cups water, plus more as needed
  • 1 (28 ounce) can plum tomatoes, crushed fine
  • 1 cup cranberry beans, shelled
  • 2 cups chopped cabbage, or more to taste
  • 1 (15 ounce) can garbanzo beans, drained
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes, or to taste
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 bunch Swiss chard, chopped
  • ⅔ cup ditalini pasta
  • salt and ground black pepper
  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil, for drizzling
  • ¼ cup finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh Italian flat-leaf parsley
  • Directions

  • Step 1

    Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in large stock pot over medium-high heat. Add pancetta; cook and stir until it begins to brown, 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in onions and celery; cook and stir until onions start to turn translucent, about 3 minutes. Stir in minced garlic and cook for another minute.


  • Step 2

    Pour chicken broth, water, and plum tomatoes into the pancetta and onion mixture. Bring to a simmer.

  • Step 3

    Stir cranberry beans, cabbage, garbanzo beans, red pepper flakes, Italian seasoning, and 2 teaspoons salt into broth mixture. Bring to a simmer and cook until cranberry beans are tender, adding more water as needed if the soup becomes too thick, about 45 minutes.

  • Step 4

    Stir in Swiss chard and simmer until softened, about 15 minutes. Season with salt and black pepper to taste.

  • Step 5

    Stir in pasta and increase heat to medium-high and simmer until pasta is tender, about 15 minutes. Ladle into bowls and top with extra virgin olive oil, Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, and Italian parsley.

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