I made this soup for dinner the other night and everyone thought it was delicious. I think my daughter (the zucchini hater) is even planning to take the leftovers in her thermos for lunch today.
It's not quite minestrone, since I'm pretty sure minestrone is always vegetarian, and I put meat in it (my family requires meat in almost all things). Not a lot of meat, though, just a little.
I started with this recipe and tweaked it to suit our tastes.
Easy Meaty Not Quite Minestrone Soup
2 links sweet Italian sausage, casing removed
1 small onion, diced
2 large carrots, diced (I didn't bother to peel them)
2 celery ribs, diced
2 T. minced garlic (or four cloves)
2 c. shredded zucchini
2 c. diced tomatoes (I actually used six whole frozen tomatoes, peels removed)
4 c. chicken broth
1 12-oz bag frozen spinach
1 15-ounce can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
1 T. dried Italian seasoning
2 bay leaves
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 c. dried orzo pasta
shredded parmesan cheese, for serving
In a six-quart pot, break up sausage. Add onion, carrots, and celery, and cook five minutes over medium heat until sausage is cooked through and vegetables are soft. Add remaining ingredients except orzo and parmesan. Bring just to a boil; reduce heat, cover, and simmer 30 minutes. Add orzo pasta and cook an additional 10-12 minutes or until pasta is cooked. Serve topped with shredded parmesan cheese.
Makes six large servings,