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A great start to an Italian meal, good for you, low in calories and fat, this
 classic soup belongs in your repertoire.

3 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup chopped celery (it should be peeled and use some of the leaves)
1 cup chopped onion
1 cup chopped carrots
2 tbsp. oil (your favorite)
1/2 tsp. thyme
1/2 tsp. oregano
2 or 3 bay leaves
1 16 oz can tomato puree
5 puree cans of water
2 bunches spinach, chopped,
1 16 oz can green beans (use fresh or frozen if you like)
1 10 oz package frozen green peas (or fresh, canned are too mushy)
1 16 oz can of kidney beans
8 oz small shell macaroni (or other small shape)
Salt and Pepper to taste
Parmesan Cheese for garnish (real freshly grated Reggiano is the best, but it is pricey)

Sauté garlic, celery, onions and carrots in oil until vegetables are crisp-tender. 
Add thyme, oregano, bay leaves, tomato puree, and water. Bring to boil and
add spinach, green beans, peas and kidney beans.  Bring again to boil and
add macaroni.  Reduce heat and simmer until macaroni is cooked al dente.
Do not overcook.  Season to taste with salt and pepper. 
Garnish with parmesan in the individual bowls. 
This is a very flexible recipe.  You can add Tabasco, Worcestershire,
mustard powder, garbanzo beans and just about any other kind of vegetables
you like.  Minestrone is a great recipe to experiment with until you get it
exactly how you like it.


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