Spring Minestrone with Chicken Meatballs

serves 4

recipe adapted from Bon Appetit

  • 8 oz. ground chicken
  • 1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • 4 tablespoons finely grated Parmesan, plus more for serving
  • 5 garlic cloves, 3 minced, 2 thinly sliced
  • 1 tablespoon fresh pesto
  • 1 large egg
  • kosher salt & fresh cracked pepper
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 leek, white and pale green parts only, sliced into 1/4″ rounds
  • 5 cups chicken broth
  • 3/4 cup alphabet pasta (or other small pasta)
  • 1 cup 1/2″ rounds peeled carrots
  • 2 cups (packed) baby spinach
  • pinch red pepper flakes
  • chopped fresh basil, for serving

Mix chicken, breadcrumbs, Parmesan 3 minced garlic cloves, pesto, egg, 2/4 teaspoon salt & 1/4 teaspoon pepper in a medium bowl. Form into 1/2″ diameter meatballs (makes about 28).

Heat oil in a large pot over medium heat. Cook meatballs until golden all over, about 3 minutes (they will finish cooking in the soup). Transfer to a plate and set aside.

Add leek to pot and cook, stirring often, until beginning to soften, about 3 minutes. Add 2 thinly sliced garlic cloves; cook for 1 minute. Add broth and 2 cups water; bring to a boil. Stir in pasta and carrots; simmer until pasta is almost al dente, about 8 minutes. Add meatballs; simmer until pasta is al dente, carrots are tender and meatballs are cooked through, about 3 minutes. Add spinach cool until spinach has wilted. Season with red pepper flakes, salt & pepper. Ladle soup into bowls. Garnish with chopped basil and Parmesan.