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Minestrone Soup

Note: Each cook knows his own pot best, and this definitely applies to minestrone. The Joy of Cooking and Healthy Crockery Cookery (Mable Hoffman) recipes use beef bouillon and cubed beef chuck or shank (separated from bone). Sunset Homemade Soups has three different minestrone recipes. This recipe combines our favorite ingredients to come up with a meatless version, though we do occasionally add cooked chicken to it.  You can add elbow macaroni or small shell pasta, potatoes, zucchini, some chopped mushrooms. Tomato paste can be used instead of dried tomatoes to thicken the soup.   One Italian recipe (Eating Well, Fall 1995) for Ribollita uses pureed cooked cannellini beans as a thickener.  Alternates:   brown rice instead of barley, a cup of red wine in place of a cup of stock. Serve with garlic bread. 

2     T olive oil
1     large onion, finely chopped
2     large cloves garlic, minced or pressed
1    T each basil and oregano
1/2  turnip, peeled and diced (turnip fans use 1 whole)
1     cp carrots, thickly diced
1     cp parsnips, diced
1     cp celery, chopped
1     can (28 oz) tomatoes, chopped, and liquid (pureed tomatoes OK)

1/2     cp dried tomatoes
7-8     cps chicken, beef, or vegetable stock

1/4     cp pearl barley
1     cp each kidney (red or white) and soy beans, drained and rinsed
2     cps finely shredded kale or green cabbage
salt and pepper

1     cp jack, Parmesan, or Romano cheese, grated

1. Heat oil in 5-qt pan over medium heat. Add onion, garlic, and herbs. Cook, stirring occasionally, till onion is soft.
2. Add chopped tomatoes, dried tomatoes, stock (or bouillon), barley, carrots, celery turnip.
3. Bring to boil, reduce heat, cover, and simmer about 30 minutes.
4. Mix in beans, macaroni if using, and tomato paste, if using.
5. Return to boil, reduce heat, cover and boil gently till macaroni is tender (about 15 minutes).
6. Add kale or cabbage and cook, uncovered till kale is tender-crisp (about 5 minutes).
7. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
8. Serve with grated cheese.