My mom made this soup all the time when I was growing up, but I never made it myself until tonight. I have no idea why. It's easy, it's fast and it's incredibly healthy. The original recipe comes from a cookbook by Romeo Salta. However, after passing through my Aunt Linda, my mom, and now me, it bears little resemblance to the original.
Both kids scarfed down their servings, by the way, so this is an excellent way to get some really nutritious vegetables into your kids' systems.
Italian Vegetable Soup
4-5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 large onion, diced
5 cloves garlic, minced
3 stalks of celery, diced
5 carrots, diced
6 small red potatoes, diced
2 large zucchini, diced
1/2 red cabbage, diced
1 can chick peas, drained
1 can tomato paste
8 cups boiling water
3-4 teaspoons salt, or to taste
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 teaspoons fresh basil minced (or 1 teaspoon dried)
rind from a chunk of Parmigiano Reggiano (optional)
1/2 pound cooked macaroni (whatever shape you like)
freshly ground Parmigiano Reggiano
Heat a large stockpot and add the oil. When the oil is hot, add the onion, garlic and celery. Cook until slighly softened and smelling fabulous. Add the carrots, potatoes, zucchini, cabbage and chick peas. Cook for an additional 5-10 minutes. Add the tomato paste and mix well. Add the boiling water, salt, pepper, basil and cheese rind. Bring to a boil, cover, turn to low and simmer for at least an hour. Remove the rind.
Place the cooked macaroni in the bottom of the bowl. Add the soup, top with cheese. Enjoy.