While this soup does make a nice big pot of soup, my post's title really refers to the exact translation of minestrone - "big soup".
There is no standard recipe for minestrone, the soup used to made with leftover veggies and was very thick. Today it is also made with a thin broth, seasonal veggies, and whatever else you want to add in.
But I have heard that minestrone isn't called minestrone by Italians unless it contains romano beans and has a bean broth.
My soup has a ham bone base, mostly because I had a ham bone in my freezer I wanted to use up, but it does have romano beans in it. I think it still counts! It was yummy! And even better, it was easy!
1 ham bone, with lots of ham still on it
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 onion, peeled and finely chopped
2 carrots, peeled and sliced
2 celery stalks, sliced
2 cloves of garlic, mined
1/2 teaspoon chili flakes
1 large can (796 ml) of diced tomatoes
1 medium can (540 ml) of romano beans, drained and rinsed
2 cups of cooked and cooled small pasta, macaroni, tubetti, orzo, etc.
4 cups baby spinach
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1. Add ham bone to a large soup pot with salted water and cook at a low boil until the flavour tastes great, about 1 hour.
2. Pour broth from the soup pot and measure out four cups. Keep the rest of the broth in the freezer for the next time you make this soup!
3. In the now empty soup pot, add the olive oil, garlic, onion, carrots, celery, and chili flakes. Cook, at medium heat, until veggies are just almost tender, about 3-5 minutes.
4. Add the broth and tomatoes and cook until the liquid is warm and the carrots are fully cooked, another 5-8 minutes.
5. As the veggies are cooking, remove the remaining ham from the ham bone and shred into bite sized pieces. If there isn't much ham on your bone, the soup is great without it, but I like finding little chunks in my bowl if I have ham.
6. When the carrots are fully cooked and the broth is warmed, add the beans, spinach, and ham to the soup pot. Stir to incorporate everything in the pot.
7. Serve in bowls filled with 1/4 cups of pasta and stir to combine. Top with grated Parmesan cheese and enjoy!
This soup goes great with a hearty buttered bread too!