Mama Mia! Honeymoon Soup

This recipe is a twist on the hearty traditional soup known as pasta e fagioli (pasta and beans) from the Italian countryside. A thick tomato broth chock full of egg noodle ribbons (pappardelle), northern beans and heart-shaped chicken meatballs is a tasty, spicy meal for  fortifying the post-nuptial celebrations.

Serves 2 (for several days)

8 ounces of Great Northern Beans (from the can or dried and soaked overnight)
8 ounces of egg ribbon noodles (pappardelle)
1 28 ounce can of Italian plum tomatoes or 2 small cans
1 garlic clove, minced
1 handful of fresh flat-leaf Italian parsley, coarsely chopped
1 carrot, grated
1 stalk of celery, diced
½ small onion, diced
Sea Salt and cayenne pepper to taste
Sprinkling of dry oregano
1 teaspoon of agave syrup
3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil (no pun intended)

For the meatballs —

1 pound of Foster Farms ground chicken
1 egg, beaten
½ small onion, diced
1 garlic clove, minced
½ red pepper, minced
1 to 2 tablespoons of Panko breadcrumbs
Sea salt, cayenne pepper, dried oregano to taste
1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil

In a large stock pot, on a flow flame add the olive oil and sauté the garlic, onion, celery and carrots until tender. Add the tomatoes, beans (undrained from the can), parsley, salt, cayenne and oregano to taste. Add the meatballs and simmer for about one hour, adding chicken or vegetable stock or water for your desired consistency.

For the meatballs, in a large saucepan sauté the onion, garlic and red pepper in the olive oil on low until tender. In a large mixing bowl, combine the chicken with the cooked veggies, egg, breadcrumbs and seasoning. Add more breadcrumbs if necessary to made the chicken firm enough to mold into small, flat patties. Place these on a

parchment-lined cookie sheet and cut out hearts using a cookie cutter. Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for about 10 minutes or until golden brown.
Cook the pasta in a separate pot, al dente, and drain. Add the pasta to the soup just before serving. This soup freezes well too.

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