This is my favorite cold weather soup, I love it with a little squeeze of lemon juice, it brightens up all the flavors in the soup. Served with a big chunk of homemade bread, it’s a meal all of it’s own. Make a big pot, the flavors get better the second day as it all marries together.
Heat a Dutch oven over medium high heat. Add 1 tablespoon of oil; when hot add pancetta and sauté until lightly browned. If needed, add another tablespoons of oil and onions, carrots, celery; sauté until the vegetables are translucent, approximately 3 - 4 minutes. Stir in garlic and parsley and then add the tomatoes and chicken stock. Season to taste with Italian seasoning, salt and pepper; bring to a boil, then turn heat down to a simmer. Cook for 20 minutes.
If using canned beans, rinse and drain them before adding to the soup. Add Swiss chard or spinach to the soup and cook until slightly wilted. Add pasta and lemon juice, stir to mix well, adjust the seasoning and ladle into bowls.
Swirl a little pesto on top or Debbi's Romano herb mix and garnish with Parmigianno-Reggiano.
*Omit for vegetarian version
**Romano Herb Seasoning Mix available www.debskitchen.com