TUSCAN MINESTRONE SOUP
adapted from the book The Best Life Diet
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 small-medium zucchini, diced
1 small-medium yellow summer squash, diced
1 large carrot, finely diced-about 3/4 cup
1 small onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
4 cups canned, low sodium, low fat chicken broth
1 (15 ounce) can of diced tomatoes-I used canned fire-roasted tomatoes
1 (15 ounce) can cannellini beans- I have a hard time finding these in my town, so I sub with Great Northern Beans when I have to.
1/2 cup pasta, elbow or small shells
fresh thyme sprigs, if available
1 teaspoon dried Italian herbs, or use fresh herbs that you have available
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup fresh basil, thinly sliced
Heat the oil in a dutch oven over medium heat. Add the carrot, onion, zucchini, and yellow squash to the pan and cook, stirring until the veggies begin to soften, about 10 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Pour the chicken broth and tomatoes into the pan, and bring to a boil. Add the beans, pasta and thyme and simmer until the pasta is done, about 10 minutes. Remove the thyme sprigs and season soup with salt and pepper. Stir in the fresh basil. Top each serving with freshly grated Parmesan cheese. Enjoy! Makes about 6 servings.
NOTE: I use whatever herbs I have available, oregano, basil and thyme. My thyme plant died in the heat this summer, so I used 1/2 teaspoon dried in this recipe. I also used 1 tablespoon fresh oregano in place of the teaspoon of dried herbs. Also, sometimes I have to use more chicken broth, depending on the size of squash used. Original recipe calls for medium sized squash.