Minestrone is a hearty Italian soup made with fresh in-season vegetables. There are no hard or fast rules about what goes into “the big soup.” Use what’s fresh, in-season and what you prefer. For a fresh flavor burst, top each bowlful with a spoonful of fresh pesto.
Chop all the vegetables into bite-sized pieces. Drain and rinse the cannellini beans. Heath the olive oil on medium-high in a large Dutch oven. Saute the onion and leek until they begin to soften. Season with a pinch of salt and freshly ground black pepper. Add the carrots, celery and cabbage and continue to saute for several minutes. Finally, add the zucchini and tomatoes. Break up the tomatoes with a spoon.
Add the vegetable broth, oregano, salt and water. Cover and bring to a boil. Add the cannellini beans. Reduce the heat and simmer covered on low for 1 - 1 1/2 hrs or until the vegetables are fork tender.
Adjust the seasoning to taste. Serve with a garnish of fresh pesto or grated Parmesan cheese.
Optional: Add 1 - 3/4 cup small pasta or rice about 8 - 10 minutes prior to end of cooking time.
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