This signature Italian soup represents peasant Italian cooking at its best. It is derived from the Italian word “minestra” meaning “big soup.” It’s thick, hearty, and absolutely rejuvenating. The amazing combination of flavors belies the fact that this soup is so incredibly simple to put together. For optimal results, use real chicken stock. If you don’t have chicken stock on hand you can alternatively use parve chicken bouillion and add one package of chicken bones to the soup. Remove chicken bones before serving.
In a large pot over medium heat sauté onions until translucent. Add celery, carrots, and garlic and sauté for two to three minutes more. Add stock, tomatoes with liquid, cannellini beans with juice, garbanzo beans, tomato paste, cabbage, potato, spices, salt and pepper. Cover and simmer for approximately one hour, until the vegetables are barely tender.
Add spinach or Swiss chard and pasta and cook covered for another 30 minutes, adjust seasoning if needed. Beans can sometimes soak up too much water, so if the soup is too thick, add another cup of chicken stock and heat through.