Skip to main content

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 year on Vancouver Island, near the town of Comox, BC. My dad loves to fish and this area is world 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 with a chilled cucumber soup. It honestly was the best thing I had ever tasted. 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 meat
  • 1/3 cup finely ground cracker crumbs
Preheat oven to 375 F. Mix together sausage and cracker crumbs. Roll into small meatballs. Bake on a lightly greased pan until cooked through. Set aside.

Soup:
  • 2 tsp. olive oil
  • one medium onion, diced
  • 2 stalks celery, finely chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp. chili flakes, or to taste
  • 1 large roasted red pepper, finely chopped
  • 6 cups chicken stock
  • 1 tsp. Worcestershire
  • 1 28 oz. can diced tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup uncooked, small pasta shells
  • 1 small bunch 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 softened. Add the garlic and chili flakes and cook one minute longer. Add roasted pepper, stock, Worcestershire and tomatoes. Bring to a boil. Cover and reduce heat to low and simmer for about an 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.






Popular posts from this blog

Pasta alla Carbonara with Mushrooms

Pasta alla Carbonara - literally translated is"Coal Miner's Spaghetti" in Italian. Carbonara is a classic Italian dish  that is quick, relatively simple and requires only a few key ingredients; pasta, cured pork, eggs and cheese.
Timing is everything when it comes to making the perfect carbonara. Toss the hot pasta with the raw eggs and cheese, add a bit of the starchy cooking liquid and stir vigorously until a creamy sauce is achieved. This is the tricky part -  the pasta has to be as hot as possible, but removed from the heat or it will scramble the eggs. If the pasta isn't hot enough, the eggs won't be cooked and you will be left with a soupy mess. Salmonella is never a popular guest at a dinner party.

Have a hot date coming up? Pull this one out of your bag of tricks and you are going to look like a culinary rock star. Move over Mario Batali!




Pasta alla Carbonara with Mushrooms
(serves 2 -3)

3 strips center cut bacon, chopped
2 cups sliced button mushrooms
1/2 small…

Sweet and Spicy Glazed Button Bones

Button bones are very similar to spareribs, but have a flat, circular bone. A quick Wikipedia check tells me that they are  taken from the bottom 5 or 6 bones located underneath the rib cage. I think button bones sound like something in a children's nursery rhyme - "Have you seen the button bones.. the button bones...the button bones... La La Laaaaa


Sweet and Spicy Glazed Button Bones
servings: 4
recipe source: Beer. Butter. Bacon


2 tsp. Sambal Olek
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup ketchup
2 Tbsp. brown sugar
2 Tbsp. honey
2 Tbsp. soy sauce
2 Tbsp. rice vinegar
1 tsp. toasted sesame oil
1 tsp. Sriracha
1/2 tsp. salt
black pepper
1 lb. pork button bones
sliced scallions and toasted sesame seeds for garnishing
Pour all ingredients in a large plastic zip lock bag. Marinade in fridge 6-8 hours. Preheat oven to 400 F. Bake on a parchment-lined rimmed baking sheet 40-50 minutes, or until cooked thoroughly. Turn often during cooking.


Tags: Asian, Button Bones, Pork

Light Fettuccine Alfredo with Shrimp, Sun Dried Tomatoes and Roasted Garlic

Traditionally, Fettuccine Alfredo is a simple dish made with heavy cream, lots of butter, lots of Parmigiano Cheese and pasta.  Delicious? Yes!   Figure friendly? No!   A couple of months ago, I would have had no problem inhaling a big bowl of this buttery, cheesy goodness, but times have changed and I am now really trying to be aware of every bite of food that I eat. Whenever I am contemplating eating higher calorie foods, I ask myself - " Is it worth the calories?" The answer is almost always no. I have discovered that I can make a healthier, lower calorie version of almost any dish that I am craving, that tastes just as good- if not better- than the original.



Light Fettuccine Alfredo with Shrimp, Sun Dried Tomatoes and Roasted Garlic
serves: 3 to 4

1 tsp. olive oil
2 whole heads of garlic, roasted and peeled
4 oz. light cream cheese, cut into cubes ( let cream cheese come to room temp.)
1 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup low-sodium chicken stock
1/2 cup grated Parmigiano, plus extra …