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“Minestrone” Soup like My Mother’s

Kathleen Flinn
I like to make a thick bouquet garni by tying together several sprigs of fresh oregano, thyme and/or parsley and a bay leaf and throw it in the pot, and then remove before serving, but if all you've got is a bay leaf, go for it. You can use a blend of spices such as Herbs de Provence or Italian Herb seasoning or whatever flavor you prefer. I use canned fire-roasted tomatoes for this and white beans, but you can also use red kidney or navy. Fresh basil chopped into bowls adds a fresh flavor if you’ve got it. Try to use fresh stock; it does make a difference in soups. Here's a recipe. Makes about 8 to 10 servings. - KF
Course Soup
Cuisine Italian


  • 1 ½ pounds 750 grams lean stew meat, cut into bite-sized cubes
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium onion chopped
  • 1 large carrot chopped
  • 2 celery ribs chopped
  • 2 quarts 2 liters beef stock
  • 1 cup 250 ml spaghetti sauce
  • 4 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 14-ounce can beans (400g), drained, rinsed
  • 1 28-ounce can canned tomatoes (800g), undrained
  • 1 tablespoon dried mixed Italian herbs
  • Bouquet garni see above
  • 2 to 3 cups frozen mixed vegetables thawed
  • or leftover vegetables cut into bite-size pieces
  • 1 cup 250 g elbow macaroni or other pasta
  • 1 tablespoon butter optional
  • DashTabasco salt, pepper to taste
  • ¼ cup 60 ml grated Parmesan cheese


  • In a 6- to 8-quart Dutch oven or stockpot, sear the meat in oil over high heat until very brown. Remove meat from pan, pour off excess fat and oil. Add the onions, carrots and celery and cook until tender, stirring around the bottom and edges of the pan. Add the stock, browned meat, spaghetti sauce, garlic, beans, tomatoes, herbs, bouquet garni and a few grinds of fresh pepper. Bring to a boil, skim, then cover and reduce heat to simmer for about two hours. Skim and stir occasionally. If needed, add more water during cooking. Add the macaroni and the vegetables and cook another half hour. If desired, finish the soup with some butter, and stir through until melted. Check the seasonings, adding salt, pepper andTabascoto taste. Sprinkle a bit of Parmesan atop each bowl when served.