Minestrone soup with mini meatballs and parmesan croutons
When you eat Nadia Lim's incredible minestrone soup with mini meatballs and parmesan croutons, it warms and comforts you from the inside out and is brilliant enjoyed the next day for a filling lunch.
- 300-400g good-quality sausage mince (nadia likes fennel and pork) or raw sausages (squeeze meat out of casings)
- olive oil, for cooking
- 1 large onion, finely diced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 carrot, peeled, finely diced or coarsely grated
- 2 stalks celery, finely diced
- 2-3 rashers streaky bacon, diced
- 1/2 cup red wine
- 2 x 400g cans crushed tomatoes
- 2 tbsp chopped oregano leaves (or 1 tsp dried)
- 1 tbsp thyme leaves
- 3 cups salt-reduced chicken or vegetable stock
- 3/4 cup dried risoni (orzo) pasta or macaroni elbows
- 3-4 handfuls chopped silverbeet or spinach
- 3-4 thick slices sourdough bread, cut into 2-3cm chunks
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 3/4 cup finely grated parmesan
- 1/4 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
- Roll mince into mini meatballs about the size of large hazelnuts. Heat a drizzle of olive oil in a large pot on medium high heat and brown meatballs (about 3-4 minutes). Set meatballs aside. Keep pot on the heat.
- Heat another drizzle of olive oil in the pot on medium heat. Cook onion, garlic, carrot, celery and bacon for 4-5 minutes until vegetables have softened.
- Preheat oven to 180°C (for croutons).
- Add red wine, tomatoes, herbs and stock to the pot and simmer for 10-15 minutes until vegetables are tender.
- Add pasta and continue cooking for about 10 minutes until pasta is al dente. In the last 5 minutes of cooking time, stir through the silverbeet or spinach and the meatballs. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
- While soup is cooking, toss bread chunks with olive oil and most of the parmesan on an oven tray lined with baking paper. Bake for 8-10 minutes in the oven until golden and crispy.
- To serve, ladle soup into bowls, top with parmesan croutons and sprinkle with reserved parmesan and parsley.