Friday, May 25, 2012

Turkey Meatball Spring Minestrone

Cheesy little meatballs stud this fresh and light spring soup, bright with green and orange vegetables. You eat with your eyes first, you know :) With the exception of the cheese component, this soup is pretty healthy. Feel free to add other vegetables that you'd like. It occurred to me later that a handful of peas would have only improved this soup. I think green beans could be a nice addition too. Egg noodles would also be a nice touch instead of the smaller pasta shape. Overall this soup was a hit, even on a warmer spring day. I will definitely keep it in the wings for soup cravings in the future!

Turkey Meatball Spring Minestrone
Serves 4 to 6
(Adapted from Bon Appetit Magazine)

8 oz ground turkey or chicken
1/2 cup dried breadcrumbs
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, divided
4 garlic cloves, 2 minced and 2 thinly sliced
1 large egg
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 T. extra-virgin olive oil
1 leek, white and pale green parts only, sliced
2 carrots, peeled and sliced
1 stalk celery, sliced on the bias
2 quarts chicken broth or stock (8 cups)
2 cups water
1 cup ditalini, or other small pasta
1 1/2 cups (packed) baby spinach

To make the meatballs, mix the turkey, bread crumbs, 1/4 cup of the cheese, minced garlic, egg, 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Form into 1/2-inch diameter meatballs.

Heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat. Cook the meatballs until golden all over, about 3 minutes. They will finish cooking in the soup. Transfer to a plate and set aside.

Add the leek, carrots, and celery to the pot and cook, stirring often until the vegetables begin to soften, a few minutes. Add the sliced garlic and cook another minute. Add the broth and water, season with some salt and pepper and bring to a boil. Stir in the pasta and simmer until the pasta is a few minutes shy of al dente, about 5 or 6 minutes. Add the meatballs and continue to simmer until they are cooked through and the pasta is al dente, another few minutes. Add the spinach and the remaining Parmesan cheese and stir until the spinach is wilted. Adjust seasoning and serve.


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