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My Grandma's Minestrone Soup

Because this soup gets a salty bite from the bacon and a generous helping of Parmesan cheese (plus Parmesan cheese rinds cooked with the broth) go light on the salt at the beginning of the cooking time and adjust the seasoning by adding more if needed just before serving.

Ingredients

  • 4-5 slices bacon roughly sliced into bite size pieces
  • 1 small onion chopped
  • 1 cup chopped carrots
  • 2/3 cup chopped leeks white part only
  • 2/3 cup chopped celery
  • 3 quarts beef stock 12 cups
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2-3 chunks of Parmesan cheese rind
  • 1 1/2 cups potatoes
  • 1 cup small macaroni
  • 1 15- ounce can diced tomatoes
  • 1 15- ounce can red kidney beans rinsed and drained
  • 2/3 cup frozen peas thawed
  • 1 1/2 cups grated Parmesan cheese

Instructions

  1. Add the bacon to a large dutch oven or soup pot over medium-high heat and cook until browned but not crispy. Add the onion, carrots, leeks and celery then reduce the heat to medium and cook until the vegetables soften, about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the beef stock, kosher salt, pepper, and cheese rinds. Bring to a boil then reduce to a gently rolling simmer and cook for about 15 minutes, partially covered with a lid. Add the potatoes, macaroni, and tomatoes, then partially cover with the lid, and simmer for 20 to 25 minutes more. Add the kidney beans and peas, and simmer until warmed through. Taste for seasoning and adjust to your taste. Just before serving, add the grated Parmesan cheese and serve sprinkled with more Parmesan if you’d like.