I don't think that I have ever taken advantage of soup weather as much as I have so far this fall. In October I made six different soups, three of them being black bean soups. Soups are hearty. They fill you up by themselves but they also are nicely accompanied by sandwiches, fresh bread, or a salad. This Minestrone is no exception. It is a hearty, healthy, chock full of good for you vegetables kind of soup.
I use to think that I didn't like vegetable soups, and now I'm beginning to realize that I don't like canned vegetable soups. The flavors are muddied from having sat in a can too long, the veggies are mushy and slimy, the noodles are several times their intended size from over absorbing the broth. All problems easily rectified by slicing up a few vegetables, or in my case whizzing them through my food processor, and letting them simmer in a pot of good stock.
1 tablespoon butter
1/2 - 3/4 lb. stew beef, cut into bite sized pieces
4 cups beef broth
1 15-ounce can tomato sauce
1 14 1/2-ounce can tomatoes cut up, (I used crushed tomatoes because it is what I had, I think I prefer it this way)
1/2 medium onion chopped
1/2 cup celery chopped
2 tablespoons dried parsley flakes
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon thyme chopped
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 cup shredded cabbage (I easily doubled this as I didn't want the leftovers to go to waste)
1/2 cup thinly sliced zucchini
1/2 cup thinly sliced carrots
1 15-ounce can garbanzo beans drained
1/2 cup small macaroni uncooked
3 to 4 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
In a large pot over medium heat, melt the butter and cook the stew beef until browned. Stir in the broth, tomato sauce, tomatoes, onion, celery, parsley, salt thyme and pepper. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat to low. Cover and simmer for 1 to 1 1/4 hours, or until the beef is tender, stirring occasionally.
Add the cabbage, zucchini, carrots, garbanzo beans and macaroni. Return the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat to low. Cover and simmer for 20 to 25 minutes or until the vegetables are tender and the macaroni is done, stirring occasionally. Serve, topping bowls with Parmesan if desired.