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There are as many minestrones as there are Italian mammas and this one is mine. It's a hearty soup that celebrates the winter garden. A market basket of leeks, carrots, broccoli, green beans, potatoes, and Swiss chard mingles with chicken and tubetti pasta to create a nourishing, satisfying dish. Make it ahead but hold back the pasta until reheating.
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive
2 leeks, white and pale-green parts only, finely chopped
1 large carrot, finely chopped
2 celery ribs, finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 bay leaf
2 or 3 sprigs fresh thyme
¾ pound boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into chunks
¼ pound green beans, trimmed and cut into 1-inch lengths
1 cup broccoli florets, coarsely chopped
1 large boiling potato, diced
6 cups chicken broth
1 Parmesan rind (optional)
1 cup tubetti or other small pasta, uncooked
1 bunch Swiss chard, trimmed and leaves cut into strips
Grated Parmesan cheese, for serving
In a Dutch oven or large saucepan over medium heat, heat the olive oil. Add the leeks, carrot, celery, bay leaf and thyme and sauté until the vegetables are soft and lightly golden (Do not let them brown), about 15 minutes. Add the garlic and sauté until fragrant, about 1 minute.
Increase the heat to medium-high, add the chicken and cook until golden brown, about 5 minutes. Add the green beans, broccoli, and potato, give them a stir or two, and then add the chicken broth, and Parmesan rind, if using. Bring to a boil and cook 5 minutes. Add the pasta and cook according to package directions until just al dente. Add the Swiss chard and cook 2 to 3 minutes more. Season with salt and pepper and remove the rind, bay leaf, and thyme sprigs before serving. Pass Parmesan at the table.