Tuscan Kale Soup with Meatballs

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tuscan-kale-soup-with-meatballs

Tuscan Kale Soup with Meatballs

This hearty, healthy vegetable stock based soup with fusilli pasta, tiny meatballs and bite-size roughly chopped Tuscan kale  leaves is simply delicious. This soup is somewhat time-consuming because you have to first make the soup then bake the meatballs and add them to the soup. But it is so worth the time and effort! I love making these miniature meatballs by mixing some lean ground beef with finely diced zucchini and shallots and season them with warm fragrant spices such as cumin and oregano. Short on time? Skip the vegetables and simply mix the meat with yolks, breadcrumbs and spices. These meatballs can be used in a wide range of dishes from pastas to passed hors d’oeuvres at your next get together with friends. No matter how you use them they will be a hit! Serve this soup with slightly toasted baguette slices, drizzled with good quality finishing olive oil and a generous helping of shaved Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese on top.

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Ingredients: bacon, onion, shallot, zucchini, carrot, kale, garlic, parley,  canned tomatoes, vegetable stock, fusilli pasta, ground beef, bread crumbs, eggs, Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, cumin, oregano, red pepper flakes, salt, pepper, olive oil, baguette.

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In a large Dutch oven or other deep, heavy pot over medium heat, fry the bacon until it is crisp, about 5 minutes, stirring frequently.

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Transfer the bacon to paper towels to drain and reserve for other uses.

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Roughly chop yellow onion.

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Add onion to the bacon fat and cook stirring constantly for 5 minutes, until fragrant and translucent.

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Add diced zucchini and cook for another 3 minutes, season generously with salt and freshly ground black pepper.

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Add sliced carrots.

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Smash and finely chop garlic.  Add to the pot.

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Add tomatoes with juices from the can, cook for 5 minutes more.Season with cumin, oregano, red pepper flakes and salt.

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Pour in stock and bring to a boil.

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Meanwhile, remove center rib from kale leaves.

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Chop kale into bite-size pieces.

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Add fusilli pasta and cook according to the packaging but minus 4 minutes, till very  al dente.

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Add kale and cook for another minute. Turn off the heat. Pasta and kale will continue cooking in hot broth.

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Meatballs ingredients.

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Finely chop shallot and zucchini.

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Add olive oil to a hot non-stick frying pan, add shallot and cook for 2 minutes. Add diced zucchini, cook for 3 minutes more, stirring frequently. Add minced garlic and season generously with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper. Let cool slightly.

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Meanwhile, combine ground beef with bread crumbs, yolks, spices, kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper. Add sautéed vegetables to the mixture and thoroughly mix together.

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Finely chop parsley.

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Add parsley to the meat mixture.

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Make a small patty and cook it in the pan to check for seasoning, adjust if needed.

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Preheat the oven to 400 F. Line baking sheet with parchment paper. Roll small patties and place them on the baking sheet one inch apart. Bake for 10 minutes. Let rest, then add 8-10 patties to the soup, serve the rest on a side.

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Drizzle the soup with olive oil, sprinkle with cheese on top and serve with toasted baguette slices.

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Bon Appétit!
Svitlana

Tuscan Kale Soup with Meatballs

recipe details

Serves 8

Ingredients

For the soup

  • 4 organic uncured reduced sodium bacon slices, roughly chopped
  • 1 medium white onion, roughly chopped
  • 1 medium zucchini, roughly diced
  • 1 small carrot, cut in half lengthwise, then thinly sliced
  • 1/2 bunch of Tuscan kale, center rib removed, cut into bite-size pieces
  • 1-2 garlic cloves, finely minced
  • 16 oz. canned diced tomatoes (I like San Marzano)
  • 1 cup fusilli pasta
  • 12 cups low-sodium vegetable stock
  • 1 tablespoon cumin
  • ¼ tablespoon dry oregano
  • Few pinches of red pepper flakes
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the Meatballs

  • 16 oz. 85 % lean ground beef
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 small zucchini, finely diced
  • 1 medium shallot, finely chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, finely minced
  • 3 tablespoons Italian parsley, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons Panko bread crumbs
  • 2 egg yolks
  • ¼ tablespoon dry oregano
  • ½ tablespoon cumin
  • Pinch red pepper flakes
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Garnishing

  • Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
  • Baguette slices, toasted

Directions

  1. In a large Dutch oven or other deep, heavy pot over medium heat, fry the bacon until it is crisp, about 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Transfer the bacon to paper towels to drain and reserve for other uses.
  2. Add chopped onion to the bacon fat and cook stirring constantly for 5 minutes, until fragrant and translucent. Add diced zucchini and cook for another 3 minutes, season generously with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Add carrots, garlic and tomatoes with juices from the can, cook for 5 minutes more. Season with cumin, oregano, red pepper flakes and salt.
  3. Pour in stock and bring to a boil, add fusilli pasta and cook according to the packaging but minus 4 minutes, till very al dente. Add kale and cook for another minute. Turn off the heat. Pasta and kale will continue cooking in hot broth.
  4. Meatballs: Add olive oil to a hot non-stick frying pan, add shallot and cook for 2 minutes. Add diced zucchini, cook for 3 more minutes, stirring frequently. Add minced garlic and season generously with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper. Let cool slightly.
  5. Meanwhile, combine ground beef with bread crumbs, yolks, parsley, spices, kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper. Add sautéed vegetables to the mixture and thoroughly mix together. Make a small patty and cook it in the pan to check for seasoning, adjust if needed.
  6. Preheat the oven to 400 F. Line baking sheet with parchment paper. Roll small patties and place them on the baking sheet one inch apart. Bake for 10 minutes. Let rest, then add 8-10 patties to the soup, serve the rest on a side. Drizzle the soup with olive oil, sprinkle with cheese on top and serve with toasted baguette slices.

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