Dinner ideas

Cheat’s minestrone with meatballs

This popular soup gets a makeover in the cheat's version with hearty meatballs. It's an economical and satisfying recipe.
Cheat's minestrone with meatballs

When in winter doubt, make a minestrone soup! Or even better, make this Cheat’s minestrone soup recipe with meatballs! Packed with heaps of vegetables, flavourful meatballs and lots of herbs, this simple soup only takes an hour to make.

This is a speedier version of the Italian classic, which usually uses dried beans and ham hocks and requires a long cooking time. You could use a can of red kidney beans if you can’t find canned borlotti beans.

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Squeeze sausage meat from casings into a medium bowl, discard casings. Roll sausage meat into 2cm meatballs, using wet hands. Heat half the oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat; cook meatballs, turning, about 5 minutes or until browned all over. Remove from pan.


Heat remaining oil in same pan; cook onion and garlic, stirring, about 5 minutes or until onion softens. Add paste; cook, stirring, for 2 minutes. Add the water, stock and passata; bring to the boil.


Add celery to pan; simmer, uncovered, for 10 minutes. Add carrot, zucchini and green beans; simmer, uncovered, about 20 minutes or until carrot is tender. Return meatballs to pan with borlotti beans and pasta; simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes or until pasta is tender. Season to taste.


Serve soup topped with basil and parmesan. Sopressa, a salami from the north of Italy, can be found in both mild and chilli-flavoured varieties. If unavailable, you can use any hot salami.

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