This is my favourite minestrone recipe. I'm making it today. Some for us, and enough to share.
Why is it so good? The beef and bacon bones (I don't bother with the bacon pieces, and today I'm using a ham hock instead of the bacon bones).
Simmer them for two hours rather than one, and the meat will fall off the bones.
When you add the tomatoes, add some extra veges (carrot, celery, green beans, cabbage), and away you go.
(You'll find a very similar recipe here.)