Minestrone

 

1 tablespoon olive oil

3 slices bacon cut into 2-inch pieces

½ large leek, light part only, thinly sliced

1½ cups chopped onion

3 cloves garlic, chopped

6 cups low-salt chicken broth

 cups water

1 (28-ounce) can whole tomatoes, drained and chopped

3/4 cup chopped carrots

3/4 cup chopped celery

1 teaspoon dried basil

Crushed red pepper flakes to taste

1¼ cups zucchini, cubed

2 medium potatoes, peeled and cubed

⅛ teaspoon each dried thyme, pepper, dried parsley,

paprika, dried oregano

1 tablespoon Parmesan cheese

1 teaspoon salt

Pepper to taste

2 cups fresh spinach leaves, coarsely chopped

¼ cup elbow macaroni

1 (15-ounce) can white beans, drained and rinsed

 

1.       In large soup pan or Dutch oven, heat olive oil over medium high. Add bacon and fry for 3 to 4 minutes. Add leek, onion and garlic, and saute until they are soft, 4 to 5 minutes.

2.     Add chicken broth, water, tomatoes, carrots, celery, basil and crushed red pep­per. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to me­dium low and simmer 30 minutes.

3.      Add zucchini, potatoes, dried season­ings, Parmesan cheese and salt and pep­per. Simmer 1 hour. Add spinach, maca­roni and beans, and cook 15 minutes. Makes 8 to 10 servings.