SOUP SZN is upon us. i’m preparing myself to start making at least a batch of soup a week for the next 4 months, since i’m beginning to brace myself to feel perma cold until march. as soon as the temp drops below 10 degrees, i know it’s time to bring out the giant scarves (read: blankets), tall mason jars of tea, and big batches of hearty soups and stews. it’s the only way i feel even remotely comfortable.
my first *double* batch of the season was this healthy minestrone with veggies, beans and mini meatballs. the thing i actually love most about soup is that even when it’s healthy it comforts you like a big bowl of pasta would. the beans add substance and extra protein, and it’s packed with so much goodness that if i eat this for lunch you can guarantee i’ll be eating something unhealthy for dinner (i’m all about balance in my life…lol).
my other favourite thing about this soup is that is comes together pretty quickly, easy enough to make on a weeknight if you skip making the mini meatballs. and since it’s starting to get dark so early and patio season is over, the next best option (aside from binge watching netflix in my onesie) is to make soup! throw in all the lonely veggies in your fridge, simmer for a bit, and serve it up sprinkled with lots of freshly grated pecorino cheese, LOTS of terroni peppers, and crusty bread for dipping.
1 pound ground pork
2 small yellow onion, diced
1/4 cup homemade breadcrumbs
1/4 cup milk
1/2 cup grated pecorino
2 tablespoons minced parsley
2 big pinches black pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 1/2 cups chopped yellow onion
1 cup diced carrots
1 cup diced celery
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 cans whole tomatoes in their juices, crushed by hand
3 – 3 1/2 cups low sodium chicken broth or beef broth
1 1/2 tsp dried basil
1 tsp dried oregano
3/4 tsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp dried marjoram
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 cup ditalini pasta
1 can dark red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 can romano beans, drained and rinsed
grated romano or parmesan cheese, for serving
start with making your meatballs: add milk and breadcrumbs to a small bowl and mix to absorb. add all other ingredients to a large bowl, then add the milk and breadcrumbs mixture. mix gently with your hands to combine. form into little balls and set aside.
heat olive oil in a large dutch oven or pot over medium heat. brown meatballs in batches and set aside. add oil, onions, garlic, celery and carrots and spices and cook until softened and fragrant about 6 minutes. add broth and crushed tomatoes, bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer. add meatballs and beans and simmer until meat balls are cooked through.
meanwhile, cook ditalini pasta according to directions on the box. drain, and add to soup. serve with hot peppers, lots of cheese and fresh bread.