They tell me it’s fall. Actually, I know it’s fall because the ice cream shop was serving pumpkin and chocolate pecan pie flavors. I know it’s fall because of college football and baseball playoffs and Octoberfest. But it actually feels nothing like fall down here. It’s all record highs and stifling humidity. And mosquitos. Sigh. At least we have the beach. I’ll always be happy at the beach.
But just because it’s hot, that doesn’t mean that I’m not in the mood for fall flavors like squash and pumpkin and cranberries. And I’m always in the mood for soup, so this week I made a simple white bean soup with mini lamb meatballs. This is definitely a soup that’s a meal. White beans, dark green Lacinato kale, whole wheat pasta and ricotta lamb meatballs. Very hearty. Very fall-like. I’ll just close my eyes and pretend the leaves are changing…
1 lb. ground lamb
1/4 cup breadcrumbs
1/2 cup ricotta
1 tsp. salt
freshly ground black pepper
1 tbsp. olive oil
1 yellow onion, finely diced
5 cloves garlic, minced
6 cups chicken stock
1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper (optional)
1 tbsp. tomato paste
1 15 oz. can of Canellini beans, drained and rinsed
1 cup whole wheat Ditali pasta (or other short pasta like elbows or orzo)
1 bunch (about 4 cups) Lacinato Kale (or regular kale), roughly chopped
1 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
good olive oil for drizzling
Parmesan cheese for grating
Combine the lamb, breadcrumbs, ricotta, salt and pepper in bowl until evenly mixed. Set aside.
Set a large pot over medium heat. Once it’s hot, heat the olive oil then add the onions and saute until soft and beginning to brown, about 7 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for an additional minute.
Add the stock, tomato paste and cayenne pepper and simmer for a couple of minutes. Add the kale, beans, pasta and lemon juice.
While the soup is simmering, use a teaspoon measure to scoop up the lamb mixture and gently drop them into the pot to simmer. Continue until you run out of lamb.
Let the soup simmer for about 10 minutes, stirring gently, or until the lamb is cooked through. Taste and adjust the seasoning as needed.
Ladle into bowls, drizzle with olive oil and add a dusting of freshly ground Parmesan cheese
Makes 6 entree-sized portions.