I first tried this recipe about four years ago and loved it, but for some reason thought there must be another recipe out there that we would like better. I've made a multitude of minestrone recipes since then, but I keep coming back to this one. Honestly, I don't know why I bothered trying those other recipes at all. This one always satisfies!
(adapted from The Sisters Cafe)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
4 carrots, peeled and chopped
4 stalks celery (including leaves), chopped
3 potatoes, peeled and chopped
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon dried basil
1 tablespoon salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 can (6 oz) tomato paste
1 (15 oz) can Italian-style diced tomatoes
1 can (15 oz) kidney beans, drained and rinsed
4 cups vegetable broth
4 cups water
1 cup small shell pasta
2 cups spinach, roughly chopped (a few large handfuls)
1) Heat olive oil in a large pot and saute onion until tender; stir in garlic and stir until fragrant.
2) Add carrots, celery, potatoes, oregano, basil, salt and black pepper and cook together for several minutes.
3) Stir in tomato paste, diced tomatoes, kidney beans, vegetable broth and 4 cups water. Bring to a boil and then turn heat to low. Simmer for 30-40 minutes or until vegetables are tender.
4) While vegetables are cooking, in a separate pot, bring water to a boil. Add pasta and cook until pasta is done; drain.
5) Stir spinach and pasta into the soup during the last five minutes of cooking. If desired, serve with parmesan cheese sprinkled on top. Enjoy!