This famous Italian soup has been much imitated around the world with very different results. The homemade version is a delicious revelation and is also extremely healthy, as it has pasta, beans and fresh vegetables. Try to make the minestrone a day early and refrigerate as this improves the flavors. Serve with grated Parmesan cheese and chopped fresh parsley.
3 tablespoons olive oil 1 leek, sliced 2 carrots, chopped 1 zucchini, thinly sliced 4 ounces green beans, cut into 1 inch pieces 2 stalks celery, thinly sliced 1 1/2 quarts vegetable stock 1 pound chopped tomatoes 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme 1 (15 ounce) can cannellini beans, with liquid 1/4 cup elbow macaroni salt and ground black pepper to taste
1. Heat olive oil in a large saucepan, over medium heat. Add leek, carrots, zucchini, green beans and celery. Cover, and reduce heat to low. Cook for 15 minutes, shaking the pan occasionally.
2. Stir in the stock, tomatoes and thyme. Bring to a boil, then replace the lid, and reduce heat to low; simmer gently for 30 minutes.
3. Stir in the cannellini beans with liquid and pasta. Simmer for an additional 10 minutes, or until pasta is al dente. Season with salt and pepper to taste before serving.
Makes 4 servings