Springtime Minestrone Soup


12 oz ground chicken (I love how light this tastes, but you could use turkey or beef)

½ cup panko (or fine bread crumbs)

1/3 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese

2 clove minced garlic

2 Tbsp chopped chives

1 egg

1 tsp salt

¼ tsp black pepper

1 Tbsp olive oil (more if needed to sauté meatballs)

2 leeks white and light green parts only, thinly sliced

2 cloves garlic sliced

8 cups chicken broth

½ cup white wine

4 carrots sliced

1 can navy beans drained

1 cup dry favorite small pasta (we used oreccheitte)

Optional: Parmesan rind

2 cups fresh spinach

Parmesan cheese and fresh basil for garnish


Make meatballs by thoroughly combining chicken with panko, Parmesan cheese, garlic, chives, egg, salt and pepper.

Form into small balls and put on a plate.

Heat olive oil in a large pot or Dutch oven over medium high heat.

Sauté meatballs a few at a time to not crowd skillet until browned on all sides. (they will continue to cook in the soup)

Remove to a plate.

Add leeks to the same pot, adding more olive oil if necessary, and sauté until wilted about three minutes.

Add sliced garlic and cook another minute.

Add broth, wine, carrots, beans, and Parmesan rind if using.

Bring heat to a medium low simmer.

Simmer about five minutes until carrots begin to soften.

Bring a small pot of water to boil and cook pasta according to directions.

As pasta cooks add meatballs to the soup to finish cooking.

Add drained pasta to the soup and stir in spinach cooking until it wilts, about one minute.

Remove Parmesan rind and taste for salt and pepper.

Serve soup in large bowls.

Garnish with grated Parmesan and fresh basil leaves. 

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