Squash and Bean Minestrone

Photo: psfreeman

To prevent the pasta from getting too soft, we cook it separately and toss it with olive oil and chopped parsley, then spoon it into each bowl of soup. DO AHEAD: Soup can be made up to 3 days ahead. Let cool; cover and chill. Recipe by Melissa Hamilton, Christopher Hirsheimer. Photograph by Hirsheimer & Hamilton.

Yield: 12 servings
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Recipe Time

Prep Time:
Cook Time:
Let Stand: 1 Hour


  • 2 smoked ham hocks (about 1½ lb.)
  • 1 pound(s) dried navy or cannellini (white kidney) beans
  • 1/4 cup(s) plus 2 Tbsp. olive oil plus more for drizzling
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 2 leeks, white and pale-green parts only, finely chopped
  • 2 small celery stalks with leaves (from celery heart), chopped
  • 2 clove(s) garlic, finely chopped
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 butternut squash (about 2½ lb.), peeled, cut into ½” pieces
  • 1 pound(s) green beans, trimmed, cut into 1” pieces
  • 8 cup(s) chicken broth
  • 1 pound(s) small pasta (such as tiny shells or pipette)
  • 1 cup(s) chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley, divided
  • 2 bunch(es) flat-leaf spinach, thick stems removed
  • Arugula Salsa Verde (for serving)


  1. Remove meat from ham hocks and cut into large pieces; set meat aside. Place navy beans and ham bones in a large pot; add cold water to cover by 2”. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer 2 minutes. Remove from heat, cover, and let stand 1 hour.
  2. Heat ¼ cup oil in another large heavy pot over medium-low heat. Add ham hock meat, onion, leeks, celery, and garlic; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are softened, about 20 minutes.
  3. Add squash, green beans, navy beans and soaking liquid, broth, and bones to pot. Bring to a simmer over medium heat; reduce heat to low, cover, and gently simmer until navy beans are tender, 1½–2 hours.
  4. When soup is almost finished cooking, cook pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water, stirring occasionally, until al dente. Drain and transfer to a large bowl. Drizzle with 2 Tbsp. oil and add ¼ cup parsley and toss to coat.
  5. Discard ham bones. Add spinach and remaining ¾ cup parsley to soup.
  6. Divide soup among bowls. Add pasta, top with Arugula Salsa Verde, and drizzle with oil.

  7. This hearty soup is studded with chunks of butternut squash and creamy white navy beans. Meaty smoked ham hocks pull all the vegetable flavors together and impart a satisfying richness. Add pasta to the minestrone: small shapes, 
shells or tubes that can cup a bean in each spoonful of soup, which gets its finish from peppery arugula salsa verde. Crusty baguettes: chewy, not those puffy, cottony Italian loaves. For a light touch with the garlic, infuse the melted butter with crushed cloves rather than minced, which can burn by the time the bread comes golden out of the oven.
December 2013

This recipe is a personal recipe added by psfreeman and has not been tested or endorsed by MyRecipes.

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