Italiano Meatball Minestrone

This minestrone won honorable mention in the Homemade Soups Contest in The 1993 Old Farmer’s Almanac. Congratulations to Marie Rizzio of Traverse City, Michigan.

For more winning recipes or to enter a contest, check out The Old Farmer’s Almanac Recipe Contests. If you’re looking for more delicious soup and stew recipes, check out this great list.



1 1/2 pounds ground beef
1/2 cup Italian seasoned bread crumbs
2 tablespoons finely chopped onion
2 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon EACH pepper and anise seeds
1 package (10 1/2-ounce) frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
1 large egg, beaten
1 to 2 tablespoons olive oil


Combine beef, bread crumbs, onion, spices, spinach, and egg. Shape into balls; brown in heated oil. Set aside.

Beef Stock


8 cups beef stock, homemade or canned
7 cups water
1 (15-ounce) can kidney beans, undrained
1 (29-ounce) can tomatoes, coarsely mashed
1/2 teaspoon EACH oregano and basil
2 stalks celery, sliced
2 large carrots, peeled and sliced
1 cup green beans, cut in 1-inch pieces
1 to 2 cups mostaccioli pasta, uncooked
freshly grated Romano or Parmesan cheese
finely chopped cilantro (optional)


Bring beef stock, water, kidney beans, tomatoes, oregano, and basil to a slow boil; simmer 10 minutes. Add celery, carrots, and green beans; return to boil and simmer 10 minutes. Add pasta and meatballs; boil 10 minutes. Remove from heat, allowing pasta to absorb liquid (15 minutes). Serve with grated cheese; garnish with cilantro. 

Cooking & Recipes


Makes 6 to 8 servings.

Preparation Method


Marie Rizzio, Traverse City, Michigan

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