Matzo Ball Minestrone

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  • Level: Intermediate
  • Total: 3 hr 5 min (includes resting time)
  • Active: 1 hr
  • Yield: Ten 12-ounce servings
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Ingredients

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 

Directions

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. Spread some pesto on the crostini and balance on top of the matzo ball.