Spring Minestrone with Chicken Meatballs - Northern Michigan's News Leader

Spring Minestrone with Chicken Meatballs

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6 oz Ground chicken
1/2 cup Fresh bread crumbs
6 tbs Finely grated Parmesan cheese
4 cloves Garlic (2 minced, 2 thinly sliced)
2 tbs Chopped fresh chives
1 Large egg
  Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper
2 tbs Extra virgin olive oil
1 Leek
5 cups Low-salt chicken broth
3/4 cup Ditalini or other small pasta
1 cup 1/2 inch rounds peeled carrots
1 cup Baby spinach
  Chopped fresh basil

Mix chicken, breadcrumbs, 3 tablespoons Parmesan, 2 minced garlic cloves, chives, egg, 3/4 teaspoon pepper in a medium bowl, form into 1/2 inch diameter meatballs (makes about 28).

Heat oil in a small pot over medium heat. Cook meatballs until golden all over. About 3 minutes (they will finish cooking in soup). Transfer to plate; set aside.

Add leek to pot and cook, stirring often, until beginning to soften, about 3 minutes. Add 2 thinly sliced garlic cloves; cook for 1 minute. add broth and 2 cups water; bring to a boil. Stir in pasta and carrots; simmer until pasta is almost al dente, about 8 minutes. Add meatballs; simmer until pasta is al dente, carrots are tender, meatballs are cooked through, about 3 minutes. Add spinach and remaining Parmesan; stir until spinach is wilted and Parmesan is melted. Season with salt and pepper.

Ladle soup into bowls. Garnish with chopped basil and Parmesan.