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Minestrone

Serves 6-8
Prep time: 20 minutes
Minestrone Cooking time: 45 minutes

Ingredients:
 # 100 grams of bacon (5 slices), diced
 # 1 large onion, diced
 # 1 leek, white part only, chopped
 # 2 large carrots, diced
 # 2 medium turnips, diced
 # 3-4 stalks of celery, diced
 # 2 medium potatoes, diced
 # 2 ripe tomatoes, chopped
 # 2 medium zucchini, diced
 # Bouquet garni of fresh thyme, parsley, and bay leaves
 # 3 soup spoons (tbsp.) olive oil
 # 2.5 liters (10 cups) of water
 # Salt and pepper to taste
 # 100 grams (4 oz.) white rice
 # 250 grams (9 oz.) fresh or frozen peas
 # 100 grams (1/2 cup) white beans (navy or kidney), cooked
 # 1 bunch of parsley, fresh basil, 2-3 cloves of garlic
 # 150 grams (1/3 c.) grated Parmesan cheese

Directions: In a stockpot, brown the bacon until crisp and add the onion to the pot. Saute until translucent, then add the leek, followed by the rest of the diced vegetables. Add the bouquet garni, water, and salt and pepper to taste. Bring to a boil and simmer for 30 minutes. Add the rice, beans, and peas and simmer for 15 minutes longer or until rice is tender. While the rice is cooking, mince together the parsley, basil, and garlic. Add the minced herbs to the soup just before serving. Serve with grated Parmesan.