It’s currently 83 degrees as I write this, clearly not soup weather. I promise this wasn’t the case a week ago when I made the soup, it was a nice cool spring day. The Mr requested Italian wedding soup again but I decided to switch things up a bit. I wanted mini meatballs and a similar, but different, variety of vegetables. Let’s not forget the differently shaped pasta, that’s important.
Did you know that the shape of pasta can change the whole feel and taste of a meal? It can. Okay, maybe not but I like to think it can. Why would they make so many varieties and sizes if they do practically the same thing? Is it necessary to have spaghetti and angel hair pasta? Can’t we live with just one of those? Why are some pasta shapes ribbed and others not? Critical questions that need to be answered.
If it’s too hot for soup where you are, bookmark this for a cool day. It’s comforting a dish you’ll be glad to try. The mini meatballs require a bit of planning, best to prepare them a day ahead, but absolutely make this soup. They give a nice kick and heartiness to what could otherwise be a basic meal. The vegetables can easily be changed up depending on what you have on hand or if you have a favorite that you absolutely want to include. A lot of minestrone soup recipes call for tomatoes, I don’t like tomatoes so I didn’t include them. Feel free to add tomato paste or some crushed tomatoes if you’re a fan.
Spicy mini meatballs in a classic vegetable soup, cooked long and slow. Pair with your favorite hot sandwich for a perfect cool weather comforting meal. This can be stored in the refrigerator for up to a week or may be frozen for up to several months.
Yield: Serves 6-8
1lb ground chicken
1/2C seasoned breadcrumbs
6 tbsp Parmesan cheese
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1/2 - 3/4 tsp red pepper flakes
6C chicken broth
2C potatoes, cubed
1C carrots, chopped
1C celery, chopped
1/2C yellow onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp basil
1/2 tsp thyme
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
3/4C pasta (I used mini shells)
To prepare meatballs; in a large bowl combine meatball ingredients. Mix well by hand or with a wooden spoon. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Using the small end of a melon baller (in between 1/2 and 1 tsp in size), scoop out meat and roll to form even balls. Space evenly on prepared baking sheet. Cover and store refrigerated until ready to make soup.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bake meatballs for 10 minutes. Set aside.
Add broth and spices to slow cooker. Chop vegetables, small enough that you can easily fit a variety in a single spoonful. Mince garlic. Add garlic and vegetables to slow cooker, followed by mini meatballs. Stir gently.
Cover and cook on high for 5 hours, or low for 10. In the last 30 minutes of cooking add pasta.
**If you aren't a fan of spicy foods, omit the red pepper flakes or cut the amount down by half or slightly more.