Minestrone Soup


What you need:

1 lb pasta shells

3 tbsp olive oil

2 small (1 large) yellow onions, diced

3 stalks celery, diced

2 carrots, peeled and diced

1 bay leaf

1 tsp  minced fresh thyme

4 cloves garlic, minced

6 cups loosely packed chopped spinach or kale

1 14-oz tin diced tomatoes, with liquid reserved

1 cup sliced savoy cabbage

6 cups chicken stock

1 14-oz tin cannellini beans, rinsed and drained

1 14-oz tin kidney beans, rinsed and drained

Salt and pepper

Grated Parmesan cheese

What you do:

Prepare pasta shells according to package directions, removing from heat and draining while the pasta is still slightly firm (it will soften further once in the soup and you don’t want it to get mushy.) Rinse the pasta with clean water to remove residual surface starch. Set aside.

Meanwhile, in a large Dutch oven or pot, heat the olive oil over medium high heat. Add onions, celery, carrot and bay leaf and saute until vegetables are beginning to be tender, about 5-8 minutes. Add thyme and garlic and saute another 1-2 minutes.

Add spinach/kale, drained tomatoes and cabbage and saute another 4 minutes or until greens are wilted.

Add stock and reserved tomato liquid and adjust heat to high; bring to a boil then return heat to low to simmer about 30-40 minutes.

Add beans and salt and pepper to taste and simmer another 10-15 minutes. Add cooked pasta shells and heat through, about 1-2 more minutes.

Serve with grated Parmesan, a sprinkling of fresh ground black pepper and some crusty bread.

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