Matzo Ball Minestrone

Total Time:
3 hr 35 min
1 hr
1 hr
1 hr 35 min

Ten 12-ounce servings

  • Meatballs:
  • 4 slices white bread, cubed
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 1/2 pounds ground chicken
  • 12 ounces chicken sausage, casing removed
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan
  • 1/4 cup diced onion
  • 1/4 cup tomato sauce
  • 1 tablespoon chopped garlic
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 2 teaspoons fresh rosemary needles, chopped
  • 2 eggs
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Matzo Balls:
  • 1/4 cup schmaltz (rendered chicken fat)
  • 4 eggs, beaten
  • 1 cup matzo meal
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 gallon plus 1/4 cup chicken broth
  • Minestrone Soup:
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 cup diced onion
  • 1 cup diced carrot
  • 1 cup diced celery
  • 2 tablespoons chopped garlic
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
  • 2 cups diced zucchini
  • 8 cups chicken stock
  • 1 cup soaked and cooked cannellini beans
  • 1 cup canned crushed tomatoes
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Pesto:
  • 2 ounces fresh basil leaves
  • 1 ounce pine nuts, toasted
  • 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 bulb garlic, chopped
  • 3 ounces extra-virgin olive oil
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 12 crostini, for serving

For the meatballs: Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. In a bowl, combine the bread and the milk and work with your hands until the mixture is a wet paste. Add the ground chicken, sausage, Parmesan, onion, tomato sauce, garlic, oregano, rosemary and eggs, and mix well. Make a test patty, cook and taste. Sprinkle the mixture with salt and pepper. Form 1-ounce meatballs and arrange on a sheet tray. Cook until the meatballs are completely cooked through, 15 to 20 minutes.

For the matzo balls: In a bowl, combine the schmaltz and the eggs. Add the matzo meal, baking powder and salt, and mix well. Mix in 1/4 cup of the chicken broth and mix well. Cover and refrigerate until the mixture has set, least 1 hour.

Form 12 to 16 balls out of the mix. Bring the remaining gallon of chicken broth to a simmer and drop the matzo balls in. Simmer until cooked through, 30 minutes.

For the minestrone: In a pot, heat the oil. Add the carrots, celery and onions, and sweat. Add the garlic and thyme and saute for 1 minute. Add the zucchini and saute until the carrots are just tender. Add the stock, beans and tomatoes, and bring the soup to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook the soup until all of the vegetables are tender, 30 to 40 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

For the pesto: In a food processor combine the basil, pine nuts, Parmesan, lemon juice, salt and garlic. Run the food processor, slowly add the oil and puree to a chunky paste. Season with salt and pepper.

To serve, bring the soup to a simmer and add the meatballs and matzo balls. Ladle the soup, 2 meatballs and 1 matzo ball in each bowl.

Spread some pesto on the crostini and balance on top of the matzo ball.

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    Recipe courtesy of Ron Ben-Israel