This has a light, healthful flavor and is not as heavy as some minestrones. Feel free to improvise the ingredients: Add a little broccoli, some shredded cabbage, a can of cannellini or garbanzo beans. And dice the ingredients small so there are no unwieldy pieces of vegetables.
Servings: 6 - 8
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 medium red onion, peeled and diced small
- 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 1 medium fennel bulb, peeled and diced small
- 2 medium carrots, peeled and diced small
- 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt, or to taste
- 1 zucchini (about 8 ounces), diced small
- 1 yellow squash (about 8 ounces), diced small
- 6 ounces green beans, ends trimmed, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
- 1 pound potatoes, peeled and diced small (optional)
- 1 can (14 ounces) diced tomatoes (optional)
- 1 can (14 ounces) cannellini beans, drained
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1 1/2 teaspoons roughly chopped fresh marjoram
- 2 quarts (8 cups) chicken stock (preferably homemade) or water
- 1/2 cup small elbow macaroni (or other small pasta), uncooked
- Parmesan cheese for garnish
In a large, heavy pot over medium heat, heat the oil. Add the onion, garlic, fennel, carrots and salt and cook until the onions are softened, about 10 minutes. Add the zucchini, yellow squash and green beans; the potatoes and/or tomatoes, if using; and the cannellini beans. Add the pepper, marjoram and chicken stock or water. Increase the heat to medium-high and bring almost to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low, cover partially and simmer for 2 hours. Stir in the macaroni and continue cooking until the pasta is tender, about 15 minutes. The soup should be thick with vegetables. Taste and adjust the seasoning accordingly. (May keep warm over low heat, stirring occasionally, for up to a couple of hours, or cover and refrigerate overnight and rewarm over low heat.)
To serve, pass grated Parmesan in a bowl on the side, or pass a large piece of Parmesan with a grater.
From Ed Bruske.
Tested by Ed Bruske.
E-mail questions to the Food Section at firstname.lastname@example.org.