White kidney bean and pancetta minestrone

Time required: 60 minutes
Yield : 4 servings Prep Time: 30 minutes
Level : Easy Cooking Time: 30 minutes


  • 15 mL (1 tablespoon) Compliments olive oil
  • 60 g (2 oz) Diced pancetta
  • 1 Onion, finely chopped
  • 1 Garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 1 Celery stalk, sliced
  • 4 Carrots, diced
  • 3 Potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 2 Bay leaves
  • 2.5 L (10 cups) Reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 tin (540 mL) Diced tomatoes (do not drain)
  • 2 Zucchini (yellow or green), diced
  • 1 tin (540 mL) White kidney beans, rinsed and drained
  • 125 mL (1/2 cup) Small shell pasta
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Grated Parmesan cheese to taste
  • Chopped fresh basil to taste


Heat oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add pancetta, onion and garlic and sauté, stirring, for about 2 minutes or until onions are translucent (do not allow to brown).  Add celery, carrots, potatoes, bay leaves, chicken broth and juice from tomatoes. Bring to a boil over high heat and then reduce to medium. Allow to simmer uncovered for 20 minutes. Add zucchini, tomatoes, white kidney beans and shell pasta. Bring to a boil over high heat; reduce to medium and continue cooking for 8 to 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Remove bay leaves.

Serve in shallow soup bowls, garnished with Parmesan and basil.

Variation: You can also use other legumes, such as red kidney beans, black-eyed peas, black beans or our Compliments six-bean blend.

Tip: In pure Italian tradition, it is customary to add a piece of Parmesan rind (the hard part that cannot be eaten) to the soup. As it cooks, the rind releases its flavour. Remove before serving soup. 

Accompaniment: Serve with a green salad and slices of crusty bread.