This is a very good and easy soup. You can use vegetable broth to make it vegetarian or add crumbled sausage to make it hearty. I made it with chicken broth and vegetables.
MINESTRONE SOUP WITH PASTA, BEANS AND VEGETABLES
32 ounces reduced-sodium vegetable or chicken broth
1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes
2 (15-ounce) cans white (cannellini or navy) beans
2 carrots, peeled and chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
1 cup chopped onion
1 TBSP. fresh thyme leaves
1/2 tsp. dried sage
2 bay leaves
salt and ground black pepper
2 cups cooked pasta (I used whole wheat rotelle) but use whatever small pasta you like
1 medium zucchini, chopped
2 cups coarsely chopped fresh or frozen spinach, defrosted
4 TBSP. grated Parmesan or Romano cheese
Basil springs for garnish, optional
Parmesan rinds for soup, optional
In a slow cooker, combine broth, tomatoes, beans, carrots, celery, onion, thyme, sage, bay leaves, and 1/2 tsp. each, salt and pepper. Add Parmesan rinds if using.
Cover and cook on LOW for 8 hours or on HIGH for 4 hours.
One hour before the soup is done cooking, add the zucchini and spinach. Cover and cook 1 hour.
Cook the pasta and set aside.
Remove bay leaves and season to taste with salt and pepper.
Put some pasta in a bowl and ladle the soup on top of the pasta. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and garnish with chopped basil if desired.
Recipe adapted from Robin Miller
P.S. Save your Parmesan rinds! Put them in a bag and toss them in the freezer. Add them to your soups and stews for an incredible flavor.