Cut all the vegetables (except tomatoes) into bite sized pieces and add to a large soup pot or dutch oven.
If you prefer smaller pieces of tomato cut them against the inside of the can with a sharp knife.
Add tomatoes and their juice along with the brown sugar to the pot. The brown sugar will reduce the acid in the tomatoes and make them taste more like home grown.
Add broth, bay leaf, parsley, salt and pepper. I usually add about 1 tsp salt and 1/2 tsp pepper but we like lots of pepper. Please adjust to your taste. You may want to start with less and add more at the end if needed.
Bring to a boil then turn heat to low and allow soup to simmer for 30 minutes. Check the vegetables to ensure they are done to your liking. If they are and you are NOT using the pasta you are ready to remove the bay leaf. If not allow them to cook 5-10 minutes more or until done.
If you ARE adding pasta -- add the pasta and cook for another 10 minutes or until pasta is al dente.
Remove the bay leaf.
Serve and enjoy!