TIPS: Peeling and dicing the squash a day or two ahead of time will save you significant cooking time. This recipe also calls for gremolata, which is simply a mix of chopped parsley and horseradish that can easily be made a day in advance.
- 1 small baguette
- 1 15-ounce can cannellini beans
- 3 cloves garlic
- 1 bunch kale
- 1 leek
- 1 pound butternut squash
- 1 bunch parsley
- 1 1-inch piece fresh horseradish
- 1/2 cup pastina star pasta
- 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
- 2 teaspoons minestrone spice blend (combine equal amounts paprika, ground bay leaf, ground sage, grated orange rind, ground nutmeg & crushed red pepper flakes)
- Preheat the oven to 450°F. Wash and dry the fresh produce. Heat a large pot of salted water to boiling on high. Slice the baguette in half lengthwise. Drain and rinse the beans. Peel and thinly slice the garlic. Remove and discard the kale stems; roughly chop the leaves. Trim off and discard the roots and upper, dark-green leaves of the leeks. Halve the leeks lengthwise; thoroughly rinse the layers under cold water. Thinly slice the halves crosswise. Using a sharp, sturdy knife, peel and medium dice the butternut squash. Pick the parsley leaves off the stems; discard the stems and finely chop the leaves. Peel and grate the horseradish.
- In a large pot, heat 2 teaspoons of olive oil on medium-high until hot. Add the garlic, leek and spice blend; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring frequently, 3 to 4 minutes, or until softened and fragrant.
- Add the beans, kale, squash and 5 cups of water to the pot of aromatics. Heat to boiling on high. Once boiling, reduce the heat to medium-low. Simmer, stirring occasionally, 18 to 20 minutes, or until slightly thickened. Using a fork, mash about one-quarter of the cooked squash pieces against the side of the pot; stir to incorporate. Remove from heat.
- While the soup simmers, add the pasta to the pot of boiling water. Cook, stirring occasionally, 4 to 6 minutes, or until just shy of al dente (still slightly firm to the bite). Drain thoroughly and set aside. While the pasta cooks, in a small bowl, combine the parsley and horseradish. Set aside.
- After the soup has simmered for 10 minutes, place the sliced baguette on a sheet pan, cut side up. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with one-third of the Parmesan cheese; season with salt and pepper. Bake 5 to 7 minutes, or until golden brown and crispy.
- Stir the cooked pasta into the soup; season with salt and pepper to taste. Divide the finished soup between 2 bowls. Serve with the Parmesan toast on the side. Garnish with the horseradish gremolata and remaining Parmesan cheese.