Hearty Italian Vegetable Soup with Meatballs

It seems that cold and flu season has arrived early in northern Nevada. A number of my colleagues and friends have already dealt with the first maladies of fall. Even my husband is fighting a bad head cold, which I do not want to get. (Note to self, get flu shot next week.) This time of year is tricky. The mornings are chilly, around 45-degrees at my house, and warm up to the mid-80s by afternoon. Fall in the high desert is beautiful – sunny, blue skies, the leaves just starting to turn – but the 40-degree temperature difference can prove challenging for our bodies to acclimate.

So to help ward off those nasty viruses – or at least put a little comfort in my tummy – I decided to make this hearty Italian vegetable soup, using up some items in my freezer (Italian sausage), fridge (veggies) and pantry (beans, broth, canned tomatoes, noodles). This hearty soup comes chock full of healthy veggies, a rich beef broth and zesty meatballs. I hope this season finds you in good health!

Meatball Ingredients
1 lb. ground Italian Sausage, mild
1/4 cup Bread Crumbs
1 Egg
1/8 cup Milk

Crumble the Italian sausage in a bowl.

Add the egg

and bread crumbs.

Add a splash of milk, about 1/8 cup, and combine all ingredients. Use your hands. Get personal with that meat!

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper (the sausage is oily so the paper helps keep your pan clean). Form small meatballs with the sausage mixture. Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes.

Once baked, cool meatballs on wire rack. Place parchment paper underneath to capture any oil drippings. Reserve about 20 meatballs for the soup. Freeze the rest or munch on them while cooking.

Soup Ingredients
1 Tbsp. Oil
1 cup Onion, chopped
1 clove Garlic, minced
32 oz. Beef Broth
2 Carrots, sliced
2 stalks Celery, sliced
1 14.5 oz can whole Tomatoes
1/2 tsp. Italian Seasoning
Pepper to taste
1 Zucchini, chopped
1 15 oz. can, White Kidney Beans (cannellini), drained
1 cup Pasta (elbow, rotelle), uncooked

In a Dutch oven, heat 1 Tbsp. oil over medium heat.

Add the onion and garlic. Saute until soft and translucent.

Add the broth

carrots and celery

canned tomatoes

and Italian seasoning. Pepper to taste.

Bring to a boil. Then cover and simmer for 30 minutes.

After 30 minutes, add zucchini

beans

and pasta.

Stir well. Cover and cook over medium heat until pasta is cooked through – about 15-20 minutes. Is it soup yet?

In the last 5 minutes of cooking, add the meatballs so they will heat through.

Serve with some bread – French pictured here – to help soak up all that yummy broth. Sprinkle with a little cheese, if you desire. Here’s to your health!

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One comment on “Hearty Italian Vegetable Soup with Meatballs

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