Recipe video above. The heartiest of all chunky soups, filled with anything your heart desires! While the add ins are endlessly customisable, stick with the soup broth recipe because I've made it extra tasty!* Asterix marked items can be substituted with any cookable vegetables, 6 cups in total.
Add bacon, cook until starting to turn golden (~2 min) then add garlic and onion.
Cook until onion is translucent and bacon is light golden ~ 2minutes.
Add carrot, celery and zucchini. Stir for 1 minute to coat in flavour.
Add crushed tomato, chicken stock, water, tomato paste, Worcestershire sauce, kidney beans, salt and pepper.
Stir, bring to simmer, then place lid on and adjust heat so it's simmering gently.
Simmer 20 minutes, then add potato and beans.
Simmer 5 minutes, then add pasta. Cook for time per pasta packet MINUS 1 1/2 minutes.
Remove from stove, stir through parmesan and baby spinach. Taste and adjust for salt and pepper.
Serve, garnished with extra parmesan and a sprinkle of parsley if desired. Warm crusty bread on the side would certainly be the cherry on top!
Any vegetables - use any vegetables you want that are suitable for cooking in soup form. Add them into the pot based on how long they take to cook. Vegetarian option - skip the bacon, use vegetable rather than chicken stock. Then give the broth a flavour bump with one of these options:
Increase parmesan to 3/4 cup (75g)
Add 2 tsp Vegeta (or other vegetable stock powder) instead of salt (then add salt at end to taste)
(For meat free vegetarians) Use 3 anchovies (finely chopped) or 2 tsp anchovy paste - add it halfway through cooking onion, it will dissolve. Adds a good hit of umami into broth, no sign of fishiness once simmered
Storage - if you use small pasta and cook it for 1 1/2 minutes less than per packet time (as per recipe directions), then it keeps fine in the soup broth. Keeps for 3 to 4 days - pasta does absorb liquid so it gets thicker, almost stew like. You can add a bit of water to thin it out, but not too much because it will dilute flavour. Consider it a soup on day 1, Minestrone Stew on day 2 and beyond!Freezes well too - cool, freeze, thaw, reheat using preferred method.Nutrition is for 5 people (VERY big bowl!) assigning lean bacon is used.