- 1 x 650 g minestrone soup mix, pack
- 3-4 T olive oil
- 2 garlic cloves, crushed
- 3 T flat-leaf parsley chopped
- 1 x 400 g chopped Italian tomatoes, can
- 9 cups beef stock
- 500 g pumpkin or butternut, cut into chunks
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 50 g spaghetti, broken
- Basil leaves, torn, for sprinkling
- Parmesan, grated, for sprinkling
- For the meatballs, mix:
- 500 g free-range extra-lean beef mince
- 1 free-range egg, beaten
- ½ onion medium-sized, grated
- 1 garlic clove, crushed
- 100 g breadcrumbs
- 50 g Parmesan grated
- ½ cup flat-leaf parsley chopped
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
In a large pan, gently fry the soup mix in the olive oil for 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic and parsley, then add the chopped Italian tomatoes and simmer for a few minutes.
Pour in 6 cups of stock and bring to a boil. Add the pumpkin or butternut chunks and reduce the heat. Simmer, covered, for 40 minutes. Check the seasoning, then stir in the pasta and cook for 10 minutes, or until al dente.
Meanwhile, form the meatball mixture into tiny balls (makes 60 to 70). Bring the remaining beef stock to a simmer and gently poach the meatballs for 5 minutes, or until tender.
Remove using a slotted spoon and add to the soup. Strain the beef stock and use it to thin down the soup, if necessary. Add a sprinkling of torn basil leaves and pass around the Parmesan.
Cook’s notes: For a vegetarian option, substitute with ready-cooked falafel or add a can of ,chickpeas and use vegetable stock.