Hot soup and hot toasted bread with butter... no other meal satisfies a hungry family like this does.
You will need to buy a package of beef stew meat, zucchini, carrots and whole canned tomatoes unless you have fresh frozen or have access to red ripe tomatoes in February. Fill a large stock pot with water, salt generously but don't overdue it. Once it boils, add your stew meat and let it boil uncovered for about 10 min. on high heat. Reduce the heat to med and add one large can of chopped tomatoes or a large bag of fresh frozen. I happen to have the last bag in my freezer which I thawed the night before. Next, add a bag of baby carrots-washed and fresh dried herbs: rosemary, mint and oregano along with a hand full of dried arugula.
Let this soup slowly boil on med heat for 40-45 min partially covered. On the end, dice fresh zucchini to add to the pot and simmer on low heat for an additional 30 min. This Minestrone is without beans of any kind and the reason is my own personal preference and a digestive issue with bean skins. As a soup side, I like to use a wide egg noodle which is cooked separately, not added to the pot of soup.
Noodles should always be spooned into individual bowls. The reason is so that they do not 'glue or goop' of the soup especially, if you want to retain any portion of the stock. By keeping the noodles separate, you can strain out the meat and vegetables to have stock as a base for another kind of soup. In this case, I would recommend a nice rich tomato soup that could be made the next day on the same beef/vegetable stock.
Now that's being frugal. However, I would serve the Minestrone one more day as the flavor will have built up over night. If there is any left over by the third day, then I would strain out any of the meat and vegetables and make tomato soup with rice as the side.
Once the pasta is tender, drain and spoon into individual bowls, top with soup, sprinkle on the Parmesan cheese and butter the toasted bread, roll or muffin.
~ Tutti a Tavola!