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Italian Vegetable Soup (Minestrone)

1 cup water
1/2 cup dried Great Northern, navy or kidney beans
4 cups chicken broth
2 small tomatoes, chopped
2 medium carrots, sliced
1 stalk celery, sliced
1 medium onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, chopped
1/2 cup uncooked macaroni
1 tablespoon snipped parsley
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon dried basil leaves
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1 bay leaf
4 ounces green beans, cut into 1 inch pieces (about 3/4 cup)
2 small zucchini, cut into 1 inch slices
grated Parmesan cheese

Heat water and dried beans to boiling in Dutch oven; boil 2 minutes.
Remove from heat. Cover and let stand 1 hour. Add enough water to
cover beans if necessary. Heat to boiling; reduce heat. Cover and
simmer until tender, 1 to 1 1/2 hours (do not boil or beans will
burst).

Add chicken broth, tomatoes, carrots, celery, onion, garlic,
macaroni, parsley, salt, basil, pepper and bay leaf to beans. Cover
and simmer 15 minutes. Add green beans and zucchini. Heat to boiling;
reduce heat. Cover and simmer until macaroni and vegetables are
tender, 10 to 15 minutes. Remove bay leaf. Serve with cheese.


Chicken Broth

2 1/2 to 3 pounds chicken backs, wings and necks
4 1/2 cups water
1 medium carrot, sliced
1 stalk celery, sliced
1 small onion, sliced
1 bay leaf
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
4 peppercorns
2 sprigs parsley

Remove excess fat from chicken. Heat chicken and remaining ingredients
to boiling in Dutch oven; reduce heat. Cover and simmer until
chicken is done, about 45 minutes. Remove chicken from broth; strain
broth. Cover and refrigerate broth until cool. (Broth can be frozen
no longer than 6 months.) Makes 4 to 4 1/2 cups broth.

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