When my children were small we had a heck of a time getting them to eat vegetables. We played little games: "please eat 14 peas", "you must try 2 monster fingers(asparagus)" and "a few of these little trees (broccoli florets) are really good". I resorted to sneaking vegetables into everything I could think of..the most popular being grating onion and zucchini into spaghetti sauce. So this soup is a reflection of those times...you may not see zucchini, but it's there! —inpatskitchen
4 to 5 quarts
For the meatballs
sweet fennel Italian sausage, casings removed if not bulk
seasoned dry bread crumbs
zucchini which has been grated on the large holes of a box grater (include peel)
cup finely grated Parmesan
For the soup
extra virgin olive oil
medium onion, grated on the large holes of a box grater
grated zucchini ( again use the large holes of a box grater)
Combine all ingredients thoroughly and shape into one inch meatballs. Place them on a sprayed rimmed baking sheet and bake them in a 350F oven for 15 to 20 minutes. Remove and drain on paper toweling. Reserve.
For the soup
Warm the oil in a nice size soup pot. Add the grated onion,
zucchini and garlic and sauté until everything softens up nicely (about 5 minutes).
Crush the tomatoes with your hands and add them to the pot along with the pesto. Bring up to a simmer and add the chicken broth.
Simmer the mixture for about ten minutes and add the meatballs.
While the soup is simmering, cook the pasta shells per package instructions. Drain and add to the soup. Bring the pot up to a simmer before serving. Garnish each bowl with a little Parmesan if desired.
I think I get my love for food and cooking from my mom, who was an amazing cook. She would start baking and freezing a month before Christmas in order to host our huge open house on Christmas afternoon. I watched and I learned...to this day I try not to procrastinate when it comes to entertaining.
My cooking style is pretty much all over the place, although I'm definitely partial to Greek and Italian cuisine. Oh yes, throw a little Cajun in there too!