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Minestrone Soup

Minestrone soup is one of my favorites.  My recipe changes all the time.  The original recipe is from Good Housekeeping Illustrated and then it changes depending on what I have on hand.

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
2 medium carrots, peeled and diced
1 large celery stalk, diced
1/4 teaspoon red-pepper flakes
1 teaspoon minced fresh rosemary, or 1/4 teaspoon dried
Coarse salt and ground pepper
1 can (14.5 ounces) whole peeled tomatoes, drained and finely chopped
1 large potato, peeled and diced
1/4 head Savoy or green cabbage (1/2 pound), cored and thinly sliced
1 can (15 ounces) cannellini or kidney beans rinsed and drained
1 can (15 ounces) chick peas, rinsed and drained
1/2 pound green beans, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
6 cups home-made vegetable broth
1 medium zucchini cut into cubes
1 garlic clove, minced
1 bunch of cleaned fresh spinach, tear leaves (optional)
Parmesan, for serving

In a Dutch oven or stock pot, gently heat oil.  Add onion, carrots, celery, red-pepper flakes, rosemary, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until onion begins to turn golden, 5 to 8 minutes.

Add tomatoes; cook until some of the liquid evaporates, 1 minute. Add potato, cabbage, beans, and 6 cups vegetable broth, bring to a boil. Stir in green beans.

Reduce to a simmer, and cook for 15 minutes, add the zucchini and simmer until all of the vegetables are tender.   Add the spinach and simmer for 8-10 more minutes. Season with salt and pepper; stir in garlic.  Serve garnished with Parmesan and a little chopped basil.

Serve with Focaccia.

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