Italian Pasta Soup

Italian Pasta Soup
Italian Pasta Soup

8 ounces any variety short pasta
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 cup chopped green beans
1 cup rough diced yellow onion
1 red bell pepper (diced)
2 cans (14 ounces each) Italian style stewed tomatoes (with liquid)
3 cups vegetable broth
1 tablespoon Italian seasoning blend
2 good sized zucchini (cubed)
4 cups rough chopped fresh spinach
6 fresh basil leaves (hand torn)
1 can (15 ounce) any variety of white beans (with liquid)
Sea salt and black pepper, to taste
Pinch of red pepper flakes, (optional)
olive oil (to drizzle)
4 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese (or more to taste)

Cook the pasta just to al dente’, according to package directions. Drain, rinse and drain again, and then set aside.

Heat the olive oil in a saucepan over medium-low heat (no higher). Add in the green beans, onion and red bell pepper along with a generous pinch of sea salt. Give everything a good stir, cover the saucepan with a tight-fitting lid and let the veggies cook for 8-10 minutes. Add in the stewed tomatoes, vegetable broth and Italian seasoning blend and bring mixture to a low boil. Immediately reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes.

Stir in the zucchini, spinach, basil, beans (with their liquid), sea salt and black pepper to taste, red pepper flakes (if using) and the cooked pasta. Give everything a good stir to blend and then simmer for a final 10 minutes. If soup becomes to thick for your taste, add in some water during the final cooking time.

Remove saucepan from heat and ladle the soup into individual serving bowls. Drizzle each with some olive oil and then top with some of the freshly grated Parmesan cheese. Makes 6-8 servings.