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Pasta Soup with Beef, Tomatoes and Peppers

Serves 4 to 6

It was so much fun cooking with my mother, especially in her later years. She loved looking through cookbooks and magazines for new ideas. When she found a recipe of interest, she had me read it so we could collaborate on any changes we wanted to make before trying it. This quick, easy and delicious Italian-inspired soup is just one example of what evolved from her many discoveries.


Heat a large soup pot over medium-high heat. Add the oil, then the ground beef. Cook until lightly browned, about 5 minutes, breaking the beef into small pieces while cooking. Add the peppers and onions; season lightly with salt and pepper. Cook until tender, about 5 minutes, scraping up the browned bits in the bottom of the pan as they cook. Add the garlic, stir in the tomato paste and cook another minute. Add the tomatoes, water, thyme, basil, oregano, parsley. Season again with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil; cover and reduce to medium-low and simmer for 10 minutes. Bring back to a boil; add the pasta. Reduce again, cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the pasta is tender, about 8 minutes. Taste for seasoning and serve, passing the cheese separately.