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Posted by on Mar 8, 2013 in Grains, International | 0 comments

Orecchiette Meatball Minestrone

Orecchiette Meatball Minestrone

Weather around here changes frequently this time of the year.You wake up with cold morning, you put on your warm jackets before you leave the house  and you are hitting 70F in the afternoon and wondering why did you dress up  like that?

So on one such day,i made minestrone meatball soup.Is this the first time you are hearing the word ‘minestrone’?I was curious to know when i heard this a while back,so here it is 

  • ‘Minestrone’  means soup in Italian,made with pasta  and vegetables and touch of herbs.
  • I used  Orecchiette for pasta.It means “Little ears” in Italian.It looks like sorta little ear,isn’t it?Though here it is marketed as “shell” pasta and resembles that too ha !I would have preferred smaller shaped pasta but this is what i had in hand and it tastes just fine.


  • Now to make it heartier,i added meatballs.You can use whatever kind you like.I made with chicken.
  • You may have noticed me using turmeric a lot.It is Indian spice which i use  regardless of the ethnicity of the food i am cooking.Why?Most importantly,it is rich in antioxidant.It is very subtle,makes no difference in the taste.You add only a dash/a sprinkle of it.If you can taste it,means you added too much.It adds lovely hue to the dish.Aesthetic is important to me 🙂
  • Choice of herbs i used was totally what my eyes caught when i opened the spice drawer and i thought would be a good fit.
  • I also like to use nutmeg and mace in meatballs.One or other.These are strong spices and just a sprinkle of it adds a touch of wonder to the dish.
Meatball Minestrone

Meatball Minestrone

  • I pureed the vegetable in this soup.I like chunky and smooth both ways.Depending on the vegetables  that i am using and the mood that i am in.I decide then and there 🙂
  • Now the consistency,i like more of a thick consistency.So you need to add your liquid accordingly.Meatballs are already cooked and pasta takes 10-12 mins to cook.Adding pasta too early may mush it a little and that may not be a problem for some.I  add it towards the end.You also do not want to stir up a lot.It will break the pasta and meatball.

And  the verdict…..This was the first time i was making Meatball Minestrone .So wasn’t sure about the reaction.Both of ours kids had second serving and my daughter asked it for the lunch next morning.That says it all.It is a winner in my book.

Meatball Minestrone

Meatball Minestrone

Orecchiette Meatball Minestrone


  1. 1 lb ground chicken
  2. 1/4 cup uncooked Quinoa
  3. 1 teaspoon onion powder or 1/4 cup finely chopped onion
  4. 2 garlic cloves crushed
  5. 1 egg white
  6. 2 tablespoon milk
  7. dash of Turmeric(optional)
  8. sprinkle of thyme and dill weeds(optional)
  9. dash of nutmeg(optional)
  10. salt and pepper to taste
  11. Soup
  12. 1 cup chopped onion
  13. 3/4 cup celery
  14. 1 cup mashed butternut squash
  15. 1 cup chopped kale
  16. 1(14 Oz) Can tomatoes
  17. Water/chicken stock/broth as the desired consistency


  1. Add double the amount of water to quinoa.
  2. Let it come to boil and then simmer it down partially covered.
  3. It is done when you see the sprouts coming of it and water is soaked up.
  4. Fluff it and let it come to room temperature.
  5. In a bowl add rest of the meatball ingredients.
  6. Add cooled down quinoa to the mix.
  7. Make the meatball in the size you like
  8. Bake it at 350F until its done.Don't overcook it.It will be chewy.
  9. I like to cook it over the stove top too.
  10. I made 2 dozen of it and used 1 dozen and froze half of it.
  11. Soup
  12. In a pan,saute onion, celery and kale lightly.
  13. In a blender puree the sauteed vegetables with tomatoes and garlic.
  14. In a pot,add oil.Add pureed vegetables.
  15. Add mashed squash,liquid and let it come to boil.
  16. Add meatball and let it simmer down.
  17. Add pasta in the last 12-15 mins.
  18. Sprinkle with some Parmesan cheese before you serve.
  19. Enjoy!



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