Let's start this out right, with a delicious recipe! This is one of my favorites, an old-standby that I whip out when I need something hearty and satisfying on a winter's eve. My mom got this recipe from a family friend when I was a girl, and I've been happy to rediscover it's goodness now that I'm cooking for 6! It's true, my house is full; dinner is now served for my three young girls, husband, sister-in-law and myself. Hurrah - this soup makes enough for us all, and a doubled recipe means we can eat the leftovers for a couple of days! I hope you enjoy.
Recipe #1, adapted from a family friend:
Hamburger Minestrone Soup
1 pound hamburger (ground turkey also works well)
1 cup diced onion
1 cup cubed potatoes
1 cup sliced carrots
1 cup diced celery
1 cup shredded cabbage
1/2 tablespoon dried thyme (or 1 and 1/2 tablespoons fresh thyme, finely chopped)
1/2 tablespoon dried basil (or 1 and 1/2 tablespoons fresh basil, finely chopped)
4 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/2 cup broken spaghetti (break it into pieces about 1/4 the length of the dried spaghetti noodle)
1 and 1/2 quarts water
1. Saute the hamburger/turkey burger and the onions in the bottom of a big stockpot till burger is completely cooked.
2. Add remaining ingredients (don't forget the salt and pepper or the noodles like I often do!). Bring to a boil.
3. Reduce heat and keep at a low boil for 30 minutes to 1 hour.
I like the great flavor that the thyme and basil give to this soup, so if anything, I add a little extra rather than skimp on the herbs. The original recipe says to simmer for 1 hour, but I find that length of time rather unnecessary; I keep it at a low boil until the noodles are done and the vegetables are soft enough for our taste.
Note: the original recipe also calls for a #2-size can of canned tomatoes. If you feel that it's not minestrone without the tomatoes, by all means, include them! I love the taste of this soup without the tomatoes, so I'm happy to save them for another meal.