Prep 40 mins
Cook 1 hr 15 mins
I like this recipe because it's so flexible. It's terrific for people who grow their own vegetables or for people (like me) who love shopping at farmer's markets. This can be vegetarian by leaving out the ground beef and bacon and substituting vegetable broth for the beef broth. This is a nutritious, economical recipe that is easy to multiply for a crowd. Adapted from a Sunset recipe.
- 1⁄2 lb lean ground beef (optional)
- 4 slices bacon, diced (optional)
- 3 tablespoons butter (optional)
- 1 large onion, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced (or more)
- 6 cups assorted fresh vegetables (it gets fun here, suggestions are diced carrots and celery, sliced 3/4-inch green beans, diced baby)
- 8 cups beef broth (use vegetable broth if keeping this vegetarian)
- 1 (16 ounce) can kidney beans, rinsed and drained
- 1⁄2 teaspoon dry basil
- 1⁄2 teaspoon oregano
- 1⁄2 teaspoon rosemary
- 1 (8 ounce) can tomato sauce
- 2 large tomatoes, seeded and chopped
- 2⁄3 cup elbow macaroni or 2⁄3 cup spaghetti, broken into pieces (I use odds and ends of pasta at this point)
- 2 cups shredded cabbage or 2 cups spinach (what I use) or 2 cups swiss chard
- salt and pepper
- grated parmesan cheese
- Crumble beef, if desired, into a 5-6 quart pot over medium heat; add bacon, if desired.
- If not using meat, melt butter in the pot.
- Add onion, garlic and prepared vegetables and cook, stirring, until meat is browned and onion is soft; drain any excess fat.
- Add broth, kidney beans, basil, oregano and rosemary; bring to a boil, cover and reduce heat, simmer for about 30 minutes.
- Add tomato sauce, tomatoes, and macaroni; continue cooking, covered, until macaroni is tender.
- At this point you can cool the soup, cover it and refrigerate it to reheat and continue the recipe.
- Add cabbage and cook, covered, just until cabbage wilts, about 5 minutes.
- Season to taste with salt and pepper; serve and pass cheese to sprinkle over individual servings.
What a beautiful soup. I took advantage of its versatility to clean out my kitchen -- subbing frozen broad beans for the kidney beans and fusilli instead of macaroni. For veggies, I used onion celery, red pepper and red chard. I used beef broth for the base. Next time I might add just a touch more tomato sauce to make it thicker and perhaps a little more pasta as well.