Use leftover chuck roast or round roast for the beef in this recipe. If you don't have leftovers, quickly sear a small chuck or round steak.
INGREDIENTS | SERVES 10
⅓ cup olive oil
1 large onion, diced
2 ribs celery, sliced
1 green bell pepper, cored and diced
2 carrots, sliced
3 garlic cloves, minced
6 cups beef broth
2 (15-ounce) cans tomato sauce
1 (15-ounce) can diced tomatoes
2 cups water
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon dried oregano
½ teaspoon dried basil
2 cups diced or shredded cooked beef
1 (15-ounce) can kidney beans
1 (15-ounce) can cannellini beans
1 cup fresh or frozen Italian green beans
1 large baking potato, peeled and diced
⅔ cup dried elbow macaroni or ditalini
1 large zucchini, halved lengthwise and sliced
2 cups fresh spinach, washed and chopped
⅓ cup minced fresh parsley
Salt and pepper to taste
Grated Parmesan cheese
Red pepper flakes
In a large, heavy soup pot, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Add onion, celery, bell pepper, carrots, and garlic; sauté until vegetables are crisp-tender, about 5 minutes.
Add broth, tomato sauce, tomatoes, water, and bay leaves; stir in oregano and basil. Bring to a boil; reduce heat to medium and simmer 30 minutes, allowing liquid to reduce in volume.
Add beef; continue cooking 1 hour.
Add kidney and cannellini beans, green beans, and potato. Turn heat to high; bring to a boil. Add pasta; boil 3 minutes, stirring frequently to keep pasta from sticking to bottom of pot.
Reduce heat to medium; cook until pasta and potatoes are tender, about 15–20 minutes.
Stir in zucchini, spinach, and parsley; cook just until zucchini is tender, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper; serve with grated Parmesan cheese and red pepper flakes. Remove bay leaves if desired.
As with most vegetable soup recipes, minestrone can contain a variety of different ingredients. Some cooks prefer to include only cannellini beans, while others always add lima beans or garbanzos. Potatoes can be omitted. Savoy cabbage can be added in place of spinach. For a starchier broth, dry beans can replace canned; just add more liquid and plan on a longer cooking time.