Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Italian Sausage Meatball Minestrone Soup

I am a huge fan of homemade soup. This hearty soup is comforting and will warm your belly on a miserable day.









For the novice cook, I feel that making homemade soup is the perfect introduction into the world of cooking. In fact, the very first thing I ever cooked was a chilled cucumber soup, when I was 11 years old. In those days my family used to go camping every summer on Vancouver Island, near the town of Comox, BC.  My dad loves to fish  and this area is renowned for salmon fishing. One evening, we got ourselves dressed up and we went out for my first ever  fancy dinner  at a restaurant called The Old House. I still remember this meal like it happened yesterday;  my younger brothers and I were on our best behaviour, the waiter even commented on how well behaved we were. I just remember that every bite of food I had tasted wonderful. My mom and I both started our meal with a chilled cucumber soup. It honestly was the best thing I had ever eaten. My mom asked for the recipe from the chef and was actually given a little card with the recipe written on it. That was such a special night with my family. I really do believe that one meal inspired me to pursue a career in cooking.


Italian Sausage Meatball Minestrone Soup

Meatballs:
3/4 lb. hot Italian sausage, casing removed
1/3 cup finely ground cracker crumbs

Preheat oven to 375. Mix together sausage meat and cracker crumbs until combined. Roll into small meatballs. Bake on a lightly greased baking  pan until cooked through. Set aside.

Soup:

2 tbsp. olive oil
one medium onion, finely chopped
2 stalks of celery, finely chopped
4 cloves garlic, finely minced
1 tsp. chili flakes, or to taste
1 large roasted red pepper, diced
6 cups chicken stock
1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 28 oz. can diced tomatoes
1/2 cup pasta shells, or other small, uncooked pasta
1 small bunch of kale, stems removed and chopped
freshly grated Parmesan
salt and pepper, to taste
chopped fresh basil

In a large pot heat olive oil over medium heat. Cook onion and celery until tender. Add the garlic and chili flakes and cook one minute more. Add roasted red pepper, chicken stock, Worcestershire, and tomatoes. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low and simmer for about one hour. Add pasta and kale and simmer until pasta is cooked. Add fresh basil, cooked meatballs, and salt and pepper to taste. Serve with freshly grated Parmesan.



Tags: Soup, Sausage, Meatballs, Minestrone