I have to say that autumn is my favorite season. I love the fresh crispness of fall. The other day I was hopping around looking at different food blogs – and so many of them wasted no time at all jumping right into the fall with great recipes for pumpkin bread, cupcakes, and muffins…. and one with a gorgeous thick chunky apple pie. I’m going to jump right into our first week of fall with some minestrone soup.
We’ll do the pumpkin thing a little later.
I can honestly say that I have never had a minestrone soup that I liked. Everywhere I’ve ordered minestrone soup – they all ended up tasting like (or reminding me of) canned soup. Too….tomatoey. Too salty. And too sweet. I like the idea of minestrone soup. I like all of the ingredients that go into minestrone….well, except for the navy beans. I don’t like navy beans in soup. Only in chili. So the other night, I decided to make a minestrone soup that I liked. One without navy beans – and without a thick, weighty tomato broth. What I came up with is a soup that I like just as much as my Italian Wedding Soup. Which is one of my favorites. This minestrone is a rich, hearty soup, loaded with veges, and tasty meatballs. The broth has only a hint of tomato. I think this minestrone soup with meatballs is a perfect soup for a crisp fall-like day! I had it with a cottage cheese, tomato and avocado tartine, but you can always serve it with a thick slice of pumpkin bread straight from the oven. Enjoy!!
Minestrone Soup with Meatballs
Yield: 4 to 6 servings
Total Time: 1 hour
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 yellow onion, coarsely chopped
- 2 carrots, peeled and sliced
- 2 celery stalks, sliced
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 cups Swiss chard leaves (you can use spinach instead)
- 1/4 cup red wine
- 5 cups chicken broth
- 1/2 cup distilled water
- 2-1/2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 large Roma tomato, seeded and chopped
- 1 bay leaf
- 1-1/4 cups canned chickpeas, drained
- 1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped
- 2 tablespoons flat leaf parsley, minced
- 1/2 cup cooked pasta (macaroni shells)
- Freshly ground black pepper to taste
- 1 pound ground dark turkey meat
- 1/4 cup bread crumbs
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- ½ teaspoon fresh sage, minced (or a scant pinch – less than 1/8 teaspoon of ground sage)
- 4 tablespoons freshly chopped parsley
- 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan (more for serving)
- 2 tablespoons whole milk
- 1 egg, lightly beaten
- freshly ground black pepper
- Heat the olive oil in a large pan over mediu-high heat.
- Add the onions, carrots, celery and garlic and saute for about 3 to 4 minutes until golden.
- Add the red wine, chicken broth, water, Swiss chard, tomato, chickpeas, basil, parsley and bay leaf.
- Add the tomato paste and stir until dissolved.
- Reduce heat and simmer for an hour.
- Increase heat to medium-high and bring to a gentle boil.
- Add the meatballs to the soup.
- Cover the pot and cook about 10 to 12 minutes, or until the meatballs are cooked through.
- Add the pre-cooked pasta and heat through before serving.
- Combine the ground turkey, bread crumbs, garlic, parsley, sage, Parmesan, milk, egg, and pepper in a bowl and mix gently with a fork.
- Make small teaspoon sized meatballs and place onto a plate.
- Drop the meatballs one at a time into a pot of boiling soup.
- Toast a slice of bread.
- Add two tablespoons of cottage cheese to the toasted bread and top with heirloom tomatoes and avocado slices. Sprinkle with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper.
- The tartines are also good with added slices of cucumber.