This is a healthy recipe for Italian minestrone soup, but substantial enough to be served for supper or a light dinner to warm you up on these chilly spring evenings. Use of fresh vegetables will provide much needed vitamins, minerals, and protein comes from homemade chicken meatballs. Trust me, children and grownups will be equally satisfied with a bowl of this spring minestrone soup.
6 ounces ground chicken breast, about ¾ cup
½ cup fresh bread crumbs
6 tablespoons Parmesan cheese, divided
4 garlic cloves, 2 minced, 2 thinly sliced
2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
1 large egg
Salt and freshly ground pepper
2 tablespoons of olive oil
1 leek, white and light green parts only, cut into ¼ inch slices
5 cups low-salt chicken broth
¾ cup dry small pasta (small Rotini, for example)
1 cup peeled sliced carrots
1 cup baby spinach leaves
Fresh basil or parsley for garnish
In a medium bowl mix together chicken, bread crumbs, 3 tablespoons of Parmesan cheese, 2 minced garlic cloves, chives, one egg, ¾ teaspoon salt, and ¼ cup black pepper. Form small meatballs, about ½ inch in diameter (makes about 28 meatballs).
Heat oil in a medium pot, over medium heat. Cook meatballs, until golden brown, for about 3 minutes. Remove from the pot on the plate and set aside.
Add leek, carrots and remaining 2 sliced cloves of garlic to the pot and cook, stirring often for another 3 minutes. Add chicken broth and 2 cups of water and bring to boil.
When soup starts to boil add pasta and simmer for 8 minutes.
Then add meatballs and cook on low heat until meatballs are cooked through, carrots are tender and pasta is al dente, about 3 minutes. Add spinach, and another 3 tablespoons of Parmesan cheese to the pot, stir until spinach is wilted and cheese is melted. Season with salt and pepper.
Serve with additional parmesan cheese and garnish with fresh chopped basil or parsley.
This recipe will make about 4 to 6 servings.
Prep time about 25 minutes
Cook time about 25 minutes
Inspired by a recipe found in “Bon Appetit” magazine, April 2012.
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