Makes 5 – 6 servings

This is a hearty winter soup will warm family and friends. Its a ‘big’ soup meaning its’ full of lot’s of goodies and flavour with many vegetables and pasta. Any leftovers can be frozen for another day. For many Italians this soup is served in the summer as they find it helps to keep them cool.

  • 1 tbsp (15 ml) olive oil
  • ½ lb (250 g) bacon or prosciutto, chopped
  • 2 medium onions, chopped
  • 2 large garlic cloves, smashed and chopped
  • 1 fennel bulb – trimmed, cored, diced or
  • 2 medium celery rib, diced
  • 2 carrots, diced
  • ½ lb (250 g) cabbage or Savoy cabbage, chopped
  • 3 tomatoes, skinned, chopped or 2 cups (500 ml) canned chopped tomatoes
  • 2 540 ml cans white kidney beans2 tsp (10 ml) each finely chopped thyme and rosemary
  • 6 cups (1 1/2 L) water
  • Pinch crushed hot red pepper or to taste
  • ½ cup (125 ml) uncooked small pasta such as macaroni or shells
  • 1 cup (250 ml) packed fresh spinach or diced zucchini
  • Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper

Pesto – recipe below

  • 1 cup (250 ml) freshly grated Parmesan cheese

1.  In large heavy saucepan, fry bacon until crisp and drain off some of the fat or if using prosciutto add oil to the pan and fry it on medium heat. Add garlic and onion and sauté and medium/low heat for 10 minutes, stirring often. Stir in  the fennel or celery, carrots, cabbage, tomatoes, herbs and red pepper.

2. Stir in the beans and water, Be sure there is enough water to cover vegetables; simmer 1 1/2 hours. Add pasta and cook 15 minutes. Add zucchini or spinach; cook 3-4 minutes. Add more water if soup is too thick. Season with salt and pepper.

3.  To serve, place soup in soup bowls with a spoonful of pesto on top and sprinkle on the Parmesan cheese.

Parsley Pesto:

  • 1 cup (250 ml) packed parsley leaves, thick stems removed
  • 1 – 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 tbsp (25 ml) pine nuts, slivered almonds or walnuts
  • 1/3 cup (75 ml) extra-virgin olive oil
  • Season with freshly ground black pepper and salt to taste

Add parsley, garlic and nuts to blender or food processor and process until finely chopped while slowly adding the oil. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve with fresh, crusty bread.

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