Minestrone with Spinach Meatballs
Light-textured beef and spinach meatballs are the flavor starter for this busy-day minestrone. Whimsical bow-shaped or spiral pasta cooks right in the broth.
1 1/2 pounds lean ground beef
1 (10-ounce) package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
1/3 cup fine dry bread crumbs (plain or seasoned)
1 large egg
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 large onion, chopped
7 cups low-sodium beef broth
1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes in their own juice
1 (16-ounce) can red kidney beans
1/2 teaspoon dry oregano leaves, crumbled
1/2 teaspoon dry basil leaves, crumbled
2 medium carrots, thinly sliced (about 1 cup)
1 large celery stalk, thinly sliced (about 1 cup)
1 cup dry farfalle pasta (bow ties) or rotini pasta (spirals)
Freshly grated Parmesan cheese for accompaniment (optional)
- For Spinach Meatballs: Thoroughly mix all ingredients together in a large bowl. Shape mixture into 1-inch balls. Makes about 2 dozen.
- For Minestrone Heat oil in a 4 to 5-quart pan over medium heat. Add meatballs and cook, turning as needed, until browned on all sides. Remove from pan and set aside. Drain excess drippings, if needed.
- Add onion to pan and cook, stirring often, until softened, about 5 minutes.
- Stir in broth, tomatoes, beans and their liquid, oregano and basil. Bring to a boil over high heat; then reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 10 minutes.
- Add carrots and celery. Cover and simmer for 10 more minutes.
- Stir in pasta and the meatballs; cover and simmer until pasta is al dente (firm to the bite).
- To serve, ladle soup into bowls and garnish with Parmesan cheese, if desired.
Makes 6 servings.