Spinach adds to the freshness of this hearty main-course Italian soup. For a twist, chop all ingredients small to compliment the rice-shaped pasta. Experiment with different ingredients or if you like more or less of an ingredient.
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup yellow onion, diced
1 cup carrots, peeled and diced
2 celery stalks, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 (28-ounce) can stewed tomatoes, diced
2 tablespoons tomato paste
8 cups fat-free chicken broth
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
4 cups fresh spinach, chopped
1/4 cup fresh parsley, minced
1/2 cup orzo pasta
3 tablespoons fresh basil, minced
6 tablespoons fresh-grated Parmesan cheese
1) In a large soup pot or Dutch oven, heat olive oil over medium high heat. Add onions, carrots, celery, and garlic. Cover pot. Cook for about 6 minutes, or until onions are translucent. Stir frequently. Add a little water or chicken broth if vegetables stick.
2) Add tomatoes, tomato paste, chicken broth, and seasonings. Cover and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 20 minutes. Stir occasionally.
3) Uncover and increase heat to medium-high. Add spinach, parsley, and pasta. Cook until pasta is done, about 10 minutes. Add additional chicken broth if too thick.
4) Ladle into soup bowls and sprinkle with fresh basil and Parmesan cheese. Makes 8 servings, approximately 1 1/2 cups each.
Nutritional Analysis per serving: 171 Calories; 26 percent fat (5 grams); 1.6 grams saturated fat; 23 percent protein; 51 percent carbohydrate; 4 grams fiber.