I begin by cooking dried beans. You can also buy beans you like already cooked in cans, or you can buy a bag of 15 beans for soup and use about half of it for this recipe, cooking as directed. Then in a large soup kettle or Dutch oven, saute one chopped large onion in enough oil to cover bottom, adding black pepper to taste at this time, then one chopped green pepper. When golden and/or soft, add 2-3 cloves minced garlic, and saute briefly (it burns easily). Add 1-2 T of tomato paste, depending on your desire for a tomatoey soup, and stir briefly in with onions, oil, etc. Then add the juice and cut up tomatoes from 2-3 large cans of stewed tomatoes (whole tomatoes) or tomatoes from your garden, cut up. Chop up and add several stalks of celery, including leaves, several tablespoons of fresh parsley (or 1 T of dried), fresh or dried basil and oregano (I usually use 1-2 t. oregano and 1 T basil dried, more if fresh), a pinch of thyme, a bay leaf. Once this is simmering well, add 2-3 carrots diced and 1-2 cups of cabbage or cabbage-type vegetable like broccoli. Allow the whole to cook at least an hour, and then add the cooked beans and enough bean water to be sure you have plenty of water for cooking squash and macaroni. When hot, add 2-3 yellow or zucchini squashes sliced. At the very last, salt to taste, and add 1-1/2 to 1 cup of macaroni. If your pot isn't big enough for all this, you can move some of it to another pot, and make more that way. You can make a lot of soup this way. Once macaroni is done (stir often), serve it with a dash of Parmesan cheese, or chunks of cheddar or mozarella diced and stirred into individual bowls. You can also garnish it with a dab of sour cream. With a piece of bread, this makes a filling and nourishing meal. It has complete proteins, because of the cheese plus beans, but you can increase the protein by using Judy's high protein rye bread (see Judy Sells Homemade, Organic Bread), and/or cooking some soy beans with the beans. It's a great fall and winter soup. I eat it all year round.
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Updated: November 2, 1999