Sunday, 29 June 2014

Tuscan Minestrone & Meatball Soup Recipe.

Now this is something I would never think of cooking for dinner....soup for dinner? Hell no! But this is no ordinary soup, it is hearty and filling and packed full of flavour. In fact this would make a great warming winter dish but as today is rainy and miserable (thats British summer for you) it seems equally fitting! So here is what you will need:
  • 1 large carrot.
  • 1/2 a small onion.
  • 1/2 a red pepper.
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 1tsp paprika.
  • 1tsp mixed herbs.
  • 1 chicken or vegetable stock cube.
  • 1 can of chopped tomatoes. 
  • Packet of beef mince.
  • Parmesan cheese.
  • Fresh basil.
  • Large handful of pasta.
  • Pesto.
  • Bread to serve. 
I like to start by making the meatballs first, you can either mix the ingredients by hand or use a mixer. For two adults and 2 children I used half a packet of beef mince which made 17 mini meatballs. Add to the mince a handful of finely grated parmesan and a little chopped fresh basil (sadly my basil plant is a bit worse for wear so I added a little pesto instead), mix well and roll into small meatballs and refrigerate for at least 20 minutes to firm up. 

Meanwhile finely dice your onion, carrot, pepper and garlic adding it to a large saucepan with a little olive oil and fry until everything begins to soften. Add paprika and mixed herbs, you could also add some dried chilli flakes at this point if you wanted your soup to have a little kick!

Make up approximately 2 pints of chicken stock and add to your softened vegetables with a can of chopped tomatoes and leave to simmer for about 20 minutes. Whilst your soup base is cooking remove the meatballs from the fridge and brown them in a frying pan with a small amount of olive oil. This step is important as it adds extra flavour to your meatballs and also stops them from breaking up and falling apart once added to the soup.

Once the soup base has reduced and thickened slightly throw in a large handful of pasta any type would do, you could even use any broken up spaghetti or linguini you may have lying around in the back of your cupboard. Cook for a further 10 minutes before adding your browned meatballs, once both pasta and meatballs are cooked all the way through it is time to serve!  

I defiantly think the garnishes give this soup an extra something, enhancing the flavours not to mention making it look rustic and delicious! Once divided into bowls pile a generous handful of finely grated parmesan in the centre allowing it to melt into the soup and then on top of that a few dollops of pesto.

I like to serve this with bread either a crusty roll, garlic ciabatta or today I chose a slice of toasted walnut bread.

For those of you who will turn their nose up at the thought of having soup for dinner, Im pretty sure this recipe will change your why not give it a go and let me know what you think!

Thank you for reading.


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