This recipe is really a fluid guideline – feel free to play around with ingredients and amounts to your taste. I really loved the lightness of the edamame as an alternative to the typical beans.
1 tablespoon olive oil
4 oz. pancetta, cubed small (optional – if omitting, increase olive oil to 3T)
1 onion, chopped
2 – 6 garlic cloves, minced
½ teaspoon each dried oregano and thyme
salt and pepper
1 - 2 cups of cubed long cooking vegetables: carrot, celery, bell pepper
4 – 6 cups chicken stock
chunk of parmesan rind
1 28 oz. can diced tomatoes and their juice
½ cup orzo or other small pasta
1 cup cubed short cooking vegetables: zucchini, corn kernels
1 ½ cups frozen shelled edamame OR canned beans of choice, drained
2 cups baby spinach
Heat olive oil in heavy large pot over medium high heat. Brown pancetta. Lower heat and cook onions until soft. Add garlic, herbs, salt and pepper and cook one minute. Add carrot, celery, peppers, etc. and sauté for 8 – 10 minutes. Add stock, rind, tomatoes and juice. Bring to a boil, then simmer until vegetables are almost done.
Meanwhile, cook pasta. Reserve a cup of cooking water and drain.
Add pasta (and water if you need more liquid), beans and quicker cooking vegetables, raise heat and bring almost to boil again, then simmer 5 more minutes.
Once all the bits and pieces are cooked as you like them, stir in spinach and simmer a couple more minutes. Serve with a shaving of parmesan, a dollop of pesto and/or croutons or toast.