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Church Supper Soup

Ritchie Wallace, in Maine, sent this recipe in--an Italianate beef-vegetable soup, credited to Bonnie Vawter (a pastor's wife) in Missouri, that she found years ago in a magazine. It's rich and substantial, perfect for an evening meal or a pot luck. Ritchie--who lives in the woods of Maine with husband Tim, their great dane Gisburn, and two cats, Hillery and Tawanda--testifies that it helps "stave off the winter cold"...which got down to 19 below about the time she wrote. Serve hot to 12 people.

Garnish: Parmesan cheese, freshly grated into a bowl.

Brown the beef in a large heavy kettle, draining off any fat. Add all the remaining ingredients except the cabbage, green beans, macaroni, and pesto. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes.

Add the cabbage, green beans, and macaroni. Bring to a boil, then reduce and simmer until the vegetables are tender--about 20 minutes.

When ready to serve, stir in the pesto (or basil), then serve up with a big ladle and point your friends to the bowl of Parmesan as a topping.