Meatball Minestrone Soup

Circle B Kitchen

Serves 6-8

¼ cup extra virgin olive oil

3 tablespoons minced pancetta (about 1 ounce)

1 medium onion, chopped

3 medium carrots, chopped

2 celery stalks (with leaves), chopped

1 tsp dried marjoram

5 cloves garlic, chopped

1 medium zucchini, chopped

1 14-oz can diced tomatoes

1 tablespoon tomato paste

7 cups chicken broth, homemade or low-sodium canned

1/3 cup tubetti, ditalini or other small pasta

1 can cannellini beans (about 16 ounces), drained and rinsed

2 tablespoons finely chopped flat-leaf parsley

3 tablespoon minced fresh basil

1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan, plus more

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

(I add a piece of parmesano reggiano rind to the broth)

Meatballs (recipe below)

Heat the oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add the pancetta and cook, stirring, until slightly crisp and the fat has rendered, about 1 minute. Lower the heat to medium, add the onion, carrots, celery, and garlic and cook, covered, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are somewhat soft, about 15 minutes. Stir in the dried marjoram and saute for a couple more minutes.

Add the zucchini and cook, covered, stirring occasionally, for 3 minutes.

Stir in the tomatoes, tomato paste and broth (add parmesan rind here if using), and bring to a boil. Add about 2 tsp salt and 1 tsp pepper. Or you can substitute crushed red pepper for a little more kick.

In a small bowl, mash half of the beans with a fork. Add the mashed and whole beans to the soup and cook, stirring, about 3 minutes.

Add the browned meatballs, stirring them into the soup. Stir in the pasta and bring to a slow boil for about 20 minutes. Taste for salt and pepper.

Divide among warm soup bowls and sprinkle with Parmesan and chopped basil. Serve immediately with more cheese for passing at the table.


1 lb. ground meat (I use turkey, but not ground turkey breast)

½ cup chopped onion

1 cup fresh breadcrumbs

¼ cup grated parmesan cheese

1 egg, beaten

¼ cup chopped fresh parsley

1 tsp salt, ½ tsp pepper

In a medium bowl, mix together all the ingredients except for the meat. Once that is mixed well, add the meat, incorporating with the other ingredients by hand.

Form into small meatballs, about 1 inch across.

Spray a large sauté pan with Pam, then drizzle the pan with about 2 tablespoons of olive oil.

Sauté the meatballs until browned on all sides (or mostly) and then drop into the soup.