When I think back to my painfully picky childhood, this was one of the first soups that had visible vegetables in it that I really liked. Prior to this recipe, Campbell's Cream of Mushroom and Tomato soups were about as adventurous as I got.
Thankfully, I got peer pressured into eating more vegetables, and I remember this soup being one of the first that I was genuinely surprised to like.
Having said all that, this recipe is in desperate need of a tweak as it dates back to the 1992 milk calendar and originally clocks in with close to 1000 mg of sodium. That's far too much in my books.
Plus, as it was in the milk calendar, there's... well... milk in the soup. And I just don't think that's either necessary or appropriate.
Quick and Easy Minestrone
(adapted from 1992 Milk Calendar)
3 slices bacon, diced (optional - use 1 tbsp olive oil in place of the bacon and its fat)
1 medium onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
2 cups low sodium or homemade vegetable/chicken/beef stock
1 2/3 cup fire roasted tomato pasta sauce
1 can (14 oz) kidney beans (that's about 1½ cups of beans, if you're making your own)
3 cups water
2 medium carrots, thinly sliced
1 medium zucchini, cut in half lengthwise and sliced into half moon or quarter moon shapes
½ tsp dried basil
¼ tsp dried oregano
¼ tsp dried thyme
1/2 cup small pasta (macaroni, shells, or really, whatever you have on hand)
Salt and pepper, to taste
1. If using, cook bacon in a large saucepan until crisp and fat is rendered. Remove bacon and drain any excess fat. You want about a tablespoon left in the pan. If you're not using bacon, heat 1 tbsp olive oil in pan. Sauté onion and garlic until tender.
2. Add in next 9 ingredients (through thyme), bring to a boil and let simmer for about 10 minutes. Add in pasta, and let simmer for an additional 10 minutes, or until pasta is tender. Stir bacon back in. Check seasoning and add salt and pepper to taste.
Serve with focaccia bread, fresh basil (or a dollop of pesto)!