Minestra with Beef and Pork Polpette

TOTAL TIME: 1 hr 40 min
Prep: 10 min
Inactive Prep: 1 hr
Cook: 30 min
 
YIELD: 4 servings
LEVEL: Easy

ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
  • 4 ounces pancetta or speck (a couple of 1/8-inch-thick slices)
  • 2 medium onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, 3 thinly sliced, 1 peeled
  • 1 starchy potato, peeled and diced or 3/4 cup ditalini or pennette
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Fresh bay leaf
  • 2 heads escarole, chopped
  • Freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1 (15 to 18-ounce) can ounces cannellini beans
  • 6 cups chicken stock
  • 2 cups water
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Directions

Heat extra-virgin olive oil, 2 turns of the pan, in a large pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the pancetta and render a couple of minutes, then add the onions and sliced garlic and potato - if you prefer pasta, add later when you reheat the soup. Season the onions, garlic, and potatoes with salt and pepper and add a bay leaf. Cook to soften, and then add the escarole to the pot and season with salt, pepper, and nutmeg, cover to wilt. Stir in the cannellini beans and stock plus 2 cups water. Bring to a boil, and then reduce heat to a rolling simmer.

Meanwhile, douse bread with milk to soften. Place ground meats in bowl. Season the meat with salt and pepper, fennel, paprika, crushed red pepper, cheese, and parsley. Add the yolk to the bowl, squeeze the milk out of the bread and crumble to add to the meat. Drizzle with extra-virgin olive oil and roll meat into walnut-size balls, then add to soup and poach until cooked through.

Cool completely and store soup for make-ahead meal. To reheat the soup: Place in a covered pot and bring to a boil, add the pasta to cook to al dente if you prefer the pasta to potato. Serve soup in shallow bowls with shredded cheese on top and an extra drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil. Crust up some bread in hot oven while soup reheats for mopping.

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5

Newest Ratings and Reviews

Read all 3 reviews

  • on January 13, 2013

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    I happened to catch this episode right before food shopping. Lucky me, because this is a great recipe. I changed a few things but it still came out great. I used bacon instead of pancetta. I used regular Italian breadcrumbs in the little meatballs, because I thought I would make a mess with the bread and milk. I also just used ground Italian sausage instead of ground pork, just made it a little easier for me. This recipe is so easy and delicious, it will probably become a winter staple in my house. Definitely a must try!

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  • on November 14, 2011

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    This makes an absolutely awesome soup!! I am asked to make this all the time and it is so filling and delicious. It freezes beautifully so I always have it on hand. Don't forget to shave some parmesian cheese over the top of each serving, get a slice of ciapatta bread and just pig out. I cannot believe that more haven't commented because it is that good. Trust me, you will love this one.

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  • on July 16, 2011

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    This makes a light but satisfying soup that freezes well. Love the little meatballs although I always have some trouble distributing bread crumbs after they have been soaked and wrung out - they clump up on me (those instructions aren't limited to Rachel, of course, don't know where I go wrong.) I substituted spinach for the escarole since I didn't have it but wish I had gone with something with a bit more bite - next time I'm using chard. Everything went together surprisingly quickly and it was a treat, a couple of weeks later, to take the last package out of the freezer at the end of a long week.

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