This warm and comforting bowl of happiness comes together so quickly. Make the meatballs lighter by using panko bread crumbs and roast them instead of frying. Toss in tiny pastas, like acini and a bunch of healthy veggies like carrots, onions, celery, garlic and escarole. This soup will feed your body and your soul.
For the Soup: Serves 6
1-2 TBSP Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 large carrots, peeled and finely chopped
2 stalks celery with leaves, finely chopped
1 cup, yellow onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp kosher salt or to taste
2-3 cups fresh escarole, chard or kale, torn into 2-3 inch pieces.
1- 15 oz can cannelloni or white beans, drained and rinsed
1 cup acini, orzo or ditalini pasta
1 quart PLUS 14 oz. low sodium chicken stock
red pepper flakes
4 TBSP Minced herbs- Rosemary, Thyme or Italian herbs, divided
Pecorino cheese for serving
- For the Meatballs
1/2 lb ground sweet pork
1/2 lb ground pork
1 large egg, well beaten
1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
1 tsp chopped rosemary
1 tsp chopped thyme
1 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 garlic clove, finely minced
Extra virgin olive oil
rimmed baking sheet
parchment paper- for easy clean up
This is a great recipe to take advantage of meal prepping. By chopping your vegetables in advance, the soup will come together in a flash. Consider making a double batch of the meatballs and freeze them for a quick pasta dish that is ready on busy week nights.
Got extra time? Use my homemade chicken stock found Here for an extra rich broth.
- Pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Combine all the meatball ingredients in a large bowl except olive oil. Mix gently using clean hands. Pinch off small amounts and roll in your hands to make 1- 1 1/2 inch meatballs. Line them up on the baking sheet, but do not have them touch or they will steam and not roast.
- Drizzle lightly with olive oil. Roast for 10 minutes or until golden brown.
Make certain the meatballs have plenty of space in between them. If they are touching, the meat will steam and not roast. They only need about 10 minutes to cook because they are so small.
Method- for the soup Prep time: 30 minutes. Cooking time: 30 minutes.
- In a large pot of Dutch Oven, heat 1-2 TBSP olive oil over medium high heat. Sauté the carrots, celery and onions for 5-7 minutes until softened. Stir in garlic, 1 tsp red pepper flakes and 2 TBSP of the fresh herbs and cook 1-2 minutes more. Season vegetables with kosher salt.
- Carefully spoon in the roasted meatballs and any drippings from the rimmed baking sheet. Simmer on low for 10 minutes.
- Stir in chicken stock. Bring to a boil and add pasta, beans and greens- kale, escarole whatever you prefer. Reduce heat and simmer 10 more minutes.
- Ladle soup into serving bowls and garnish with additional red pepper flakes ( if desired) chopped herbs and grated pecorino.
- You may want to add more broth to the soup when serving leftovers. The beans and pasta tend to soak up lots of broth.
Freezing this soup:
This soup freezes well for 30 days in an air-tight container only if you omit the pasta before freezing. The pasta becomes too mushy once cooked and frozen. To reheat, thaw overnight in the fridge and then simmer over low heat for 30 minutes. Add uncooked pasta after 20 minutes.