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Italian Meatball Minestrone with Cannellini Beans

An Olive Oil Recipe

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Prep Information

Prep Time

20-30 minutes

Cook Time

35 minutes


4-6 people


  • 1 lb. ground beef
  • 1-1/2 cups fresh breadcrumbs
  • 2 small garlic cloves chopped or pressed with a garlic press
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • Pinch of red pepper flakes
  • 1 egg
  • 2 Tablespoons milk
  • Coratina Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 3 carrots, peeled and diced
  • 2 ribs celery, diced
  • 1 large zucchini, diced
  • 2 teaspoons Italian dressing
  • 1 teaspoon dry oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • Pinch of salt
  • Pinch red pepper flakes
  • 3 large cloves garlic, chopped finely or pressed through a garlic press
  • 1 small (3 oz.) can tomato paste
  • 5 cups hot beef stock
  • 1 can (15 oz. cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
  • Parmesan rind chunk (optional)
  • 2 cups fresh baby spinach leaves
  • 1 Tablespoon chopped Italian parsley
  • 1 Tablespoon chopped fresh basil
  • 1-1/2 cups cooked elbow pasta or ditalini
  • Grated parmesan, for garnish


  1. Place all the meatball ingredients in a large bowl and, using clean hands, mix all the ingredients together until well mixed. Using about 1/2 oz. of the meat mixture at a time, roll the meatballs and then chill for about 15 minutes.
  2. When the meatballs are chilled, heat about 3-4 Tablespoons of the Coratina Extra Virgin Olive Oil in a large soup pot. When the oil is hot, add about 1/2 of the meatballs and brown them on all sides (about 2 minutes). Use a slotted spoon to remove and drain on a paper towel. Repeat the process with the rest of the meatballs. When all of the meatballs are browned, set aside.
  3. Add more of the Coratina Extra Virgin Olive Oil to the pot and add the onions, carrots, and celery, and sauté for about 4 minutes or until they begin to soften.
  4. Add the zucchini, the Italian seasoning, dry oregano, black pepper, salt, red pepper flakes, and garlic and stir to combine. When you can smell the garlic fragrance, add the tomato paste and cook that for about 30-45 seconds.
  5. Add back into the pot the meatballs, along with the cannellini beans and the beef stock and stir. Add the Parmesan rind chunk if you're using and cover the soup partially with the lid; bring the soup to a rolling simmer, then reduce the heat to low and gently simmer the soup for 25 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  6. After 25 minutes, turn off the heat and remove the Parmesan rind, if using, and add the spinach leaves, parsley, and basil. Stir. Check the seasoning and add more salt and pepper as desired.
  7. Add some of the pasta to a soup bowl and ladle the soup over the top. Top with grated Parmesan, if desired.
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