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Minestrone Soup with Meatballs

Updated on November 22, 2011
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I love this recipe. It's my oldest son's favorite, and it goes together quickly. The soup works just as well as on it's own as it does with the meatballs - and the meatballs work lots of other yummy applications as well. Make a double batch of the meatballs, and use them in subs or pasta.

This recipe makes a good bit - so if you'd like, stash some in the freezer for a second round. It's quick, easy and budget friendly. Winner!


  • 1 recipe Basic Meatballs (optional)
  • 2 medium onions, diced
  • 2 carrots, diced
  • 1 rib celery, diced
  • 3-4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 quart of chicken or beef broth
  • 1 quart tomato sauce
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 can small navy beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 cups of small pasta, cooked and drained (I used piccolini but anything small is nice)
  • 1 Tbsp dried thyme
  • 1 Tbsp dried basil
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • Either the rind from a good piece of Parmesan, or a 1 cup of grated Parmesan cheese. I love using the rind - it just tastes amazing.
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp butter

Heat butter and olive oil over medium heat in a large dutch oven. Add veggies and allow to 'sweat' - cook them gently until they begin to release moisture and and become fragrant. Add the garlic and cook another minute or two. Add broth, tomato sauce and water and bring to a simmer. Add navy beans, and the rind from the Parmesan if using. (If using grated cheese - don't add until you serve it.) Add thyme, basil, bay leaves, garlic powder, onion powder, salt and pepper. Allow to simmer for approximately fifteen minutes. This allows the flavors to come together and the herbs to release their perfume.

Add meatballs to the pot, and simmer very gently for about another fifteen minutes. Stir occasionally, but gently, so you don't break up the meatballs. Keep the heat low so the meatballs cook through nicely but don't break apart or become tough. Immediately before serving, toss in the cooked pasta, and if using grated cheese, add it now. Serve with Flatbread for sopping up the loveliness in the bottom of the bowl.


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