Minestrone is a one-pot balanced meal. Beans and vegetables offer protein and vitamins for the body, and a rich tomato broth warms the soul. Feel free to mix and match your vegetables, beans and pasta shapes. This recipe is adapted from Martha Stewart's Everyday Food: Fresh Flavor Fast (Clarkson Potter 2010).
Makes 4 servings
1 tablespoon olive oil, plus more for garnish
1 onion, finely chopped
1 carrot, sliced 1/4-inch thick
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups chopped zucchini and/or yellow squash
1/4 small head cabbage, halved lengthwise and shredded
1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary (or 1 teaspoon dried)
1 can (14 1/2 ounces) diced tomatoes in juice
Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
1 can (19 ounces) kidney or garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 cup elbow macaroni or other short, bite-size pasta
Freshly grated Parmesan cheese
In a large pot, heat the oil over medium. Add onion, carrot and garlic. Cook, stirring frequently, until onion is translucent, 3 to 4 minutes. Stir in squash, cabbage and rosemary. Cook, stirring, until vegetables are coated, 1 to 2 minutes.
Add tomatoes with their juice and enough water (about 6 cups) to cover vegetables by 1 inch. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer. Season with salt and pepper. Cook until vegetables are almost tender and soup is thickened, about 6 minutes. At this point, soup can be refrigerated up to 2 days in an airtight container. Let cool completely before storing. Bring to a simmer before proceeding.
Stir in beans and pasta and cook until pasta is al dente, 10 to 15 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. To serve, ladle soup into bowls, garnish with a drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkle of freshly grated Parmesan cheese.