Nothing says love to me more than a bowl of home-made soup. I guess it has something to do with the fact that my husband and I met while volunteering at a soup kitchen.
And what better way to keep warm and toasty this March-maddening cold week than with a bowl of steaming minestrone? As a nod to spring, this recipe is chock full of spring vegetables and fresh herbs like basil, parsley, thyme, and chives. The chicken meatballs are cheesey and lend that perfect note of savoriness to this otherwise light soup. Enjoy!
P.S. Version on the right for our 4 year old has less herbs.
This recipe is adapted from one from Epicurious. My version is upped to yield 10 hardy servings and the meatballs are oven roasted, cutting down on active cooking time.
- 2 pounds ground chicken
- 1 cup breadcrumbs
- 1 cup finely grated Parmigiano reggianno cheese, divided, plus more for garnish
- 4 garlic cloves, 4 minced, 2 thinly sliced
- 1/2 cup chopped fresh chives
- 2 large eggs, whisked to blend
- Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper
- 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 large leek, white and pale-green parts only, sliced into 1/4″ rounds
- 3 quarts low-salt chicken broth
- 1 pound small pasta
- 2 bunches carrots, choppped into 1/2″ rounds
- 1 pound (packed) baby spinach
- Chopped fresh basil, parsley, thyme
Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees. Line 2 sheet trays with aluminum or silpat. Spray with olive oil.
Mix chicken, breadcrumbs, 3 tablespoons Parmesan, minced garlic cloves, chives, egg, 2 teaspoon salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper in a medium bowl. Form into 1/2″-diameter meatballs.
Transfer to sheet trays and bake for 15-20 minutes or until brown on all sides. You’ll want to rotate at 10 minutes and return to oven until the meatballs are brown.
Add olive oil, leek to a heavy-bottomed pot (such as a dutch oven) and cook over medium heat, stirring often, until beginning to soften, about 3 minutes. Add thinly sliced garlic cloves; cook for 1 minute. Add broth and 1 cup water; bring to a boil. Stir carrots; simmer until carrots are tender (15-20 minutes). In a separate pan, boil water, add salt and cook pasta until almost al dente, about 7 minutes. Add meatballs to the broth pot; simmer until carrots are tender, and meatballs are cooked through, about 3 minutes. Add spinach, pasta and remaining 3 tablespoons Parmesan; stir until spinach is wilted and cheese is melted. Season with salt and pepper.
Ladle soup into bowls. Garnish with chopped herbs and Parmigino Reggiano cheese.