Chicken Minestrone Soup

I promise I’m working on the much anticipated allegory and will return to my prickly, opinionated self shortly. Thank you for your patience. In the meantime, here’s a recipe for Chicken Minestrone Soup to keep you warm. (Seems most of my reader’s also enjoy my recipes, artwork, advice, etc., so I’ve decided to start posting them as well between essays. I started this page for my personal writings. Then, things got very serious, politically. It’s still serious, politically, but I find myself needing to mix it up a bit. I hope you don’t mind. Thanks so much for your interest in both my writing and our shared interests. ~MJL)

Chicken Minestrone Soup

Ingredients
• 2 tablespoons olive oil
• 1 cup white onion diced
• 1/2 cup celery cut diagonally
• 1/2 cup carrots peeled, cut diagonally
• 1 zucchini diced (1/2 green and 1/2 yellow)
• 2 teaspoons minced garlic
• 14 ounces canned diced tomatoes ( plus 2 T of hot sauce to give it a “Fra Diavolo” flavor)
• 32 ounces chicken stock (I prefer homemade, but canned is fine and easier!)
• 1 bay leaf
• 1 1/2 tablespoons Italian seasoning
• 2 tablespoons tomato paste
• 15 ounces canned small white beans drained and rinsed
• 15 ounces canned kidney beans drained and rinsed
• 1 cup fresh green beans (you can use frozen, but fresh is best)
• 1 cup fresh broccoli (not frozen)
• 1 cup Cavatapi (corkscrew) pasta
• Shredded parmesan cheese for garnish (I prefer shredded, but made due)

**Optional: I used roasted, boneless chicken breasts seasoned with Italian seasoning and garlic salt, torn. This is also a perfect way to use leftover Thanksgiving turkey or sliced hot or sweet sausage. For a little “kick”, add 2 Tablespoons of hot sauce to give it a “Fra Diavolo” flavor.

Instructions
• Heat olive oil in a large stockpot over medium heat.
• When oil is hot add onions, celery, carrots, and garlic. Add a pinch of salt to “sweat” the vegetables. Cook for 3 to 5 minutes or until the vegetables turn color and soften.
• Add canned tomatoes, chicken broth, tomato paste, Italian seasoning, and bay leaf to the pot. Bring to a boil and turn down to simmer.
• Add white beans, kidney beans, green beans, broccoli, zucchini, chicken and pasta plus one cup of boiled water for the pasta to absorb. Simmer for 10 to 15 minutes or until the pasta and vegetables are tender.
• Season with salt and pepper.
• Dress with shredded parmesan cheese. Serve with bread and/or salad.

Mangia! Mangia!