One of the things that everyone tells new mothers is to always say yes to offers of help. This goes double if those offers involve bringing food to you. I was a very lucky lady when B was born, because I had not only my mother bringing food and cooking at our house, but my cousin K bringing a lasagna that may well have saved us, and then my friend A bringing over scones and this wonderful soup, whose recipe I’m about to share.
So I admit – it seems like cheating to share a recipe that I didn’t prepare in full by myself. Luckily, I can say that I sort of half-prepared this meal. A did all the hard bits – gathering of ingredients, chopping, making of meatballs. All time-consuming, but the kind of thing that once done makes the actual soup preparation quite easy. And as she told me, she had prepared all these ingredients for herself and her family in bulk so that they could easily take everything out and have a relatively quick but hearty and healthy meal in about 30 minutes. As she described it, the most difficult part is the meatballs, but even there I can spot a shortcut if you’re lazy: they make these things called frozen meatballs that you can buy already prepared. Granted, those won’t be as tender and delicious as the ones lovingly made by hand by A, but I’m willing to bet that given the opportunity to have this particular recipe ready for consumption from start to finish in a matter of minutes as opposed to the hours necessary to lovingly craft meatballs by hand… people are willing to make sacrifices.
But this soup – let me tell you about it! It’s a great in many ways. It has lots of vegetables in it, which always makes me feel healthier than I am left to my own devices. It’s very light, which makes it great for spring time when you don’t want to have loads of heavy cream and whatnot sitting in your belly. At the same time, the meatballs make sure that the soup is heartier, so you don’t feel like you’re missing out on food during mealtime. And again – if you prep most of the ingredients ahead of time, it’s a quick meal, and gets you a husband or housemate who is happy and says things like, “I like soup!” when you suggest that you might make it.
Also, it’s a Bon Appetit recipe, and for me, that is the height of fancy. Because most of the time my recipes come from other internet bloggers, or the Kitchn. And not that those sources can’t be sophisticated, but Bon Appetit is an actual magazine, and it’s name is french. So yeah. Super fancy. Except not. And just delicious. And since the weather here has finally flipped around to spring, it feels appropriate to make a springtime soup. So get on it! Soup it up!!!
Spring Minestrone with Meatballs
Note: I’m not including the meatball recipe here. You can either visit the recipe on the BA website, or use your own meatball recipe
Makes 4 servings
1 leek, white and pale-green parts only, sliced into 1/4-inch rounds
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 and remaining 3 Tbsp. Parmesan; stir until spinach is wilted and Parmesan is melted. Season with salt and pepper.