The first recipe of 2011! And believe me, if you’re looking for the perfect stew to warm you up on these cold winter days, look no further: This stew is the answer. Full of meatballs, pasta, beans, and vegetables, it is the very definition of “hearty” -- and it’s delicious, too.
This is one of those recipes I knew I was going to make the instant I saw it, and we all really enjoyed it. The cream cheese gave the stew great flavor and texture. Joe and I both agreed that this would taste much better with homemade meatballs, so I’ll definitely take the time to make my own next time. The original recipe calls for 3 cups of water, but I omitted it because I wanted a nice, thick stew-like meal. That’s exactly what I got, and it was so comforting and delicious -- the perfect meal for a cold winter night.
Creamy Meatball Minestrone Stew
adapted from Tablespoon
1 large onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 large carrots, shredded
1 large zucchini, chopped
Salt and pepper to taste
1 30-ounce can diced tomatoes, undrained
1 15-ounce can red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1 15-ounce can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
1 pound frozen Italian meatballs (or make your own)
1 26-ounce jar spaghetti sauce
32 ounces beef broth
2 tablespoons Italian seasoning
8 ounces small uncooked pasta (like ditalini or orzo)
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
1. In a large pot over medium-high heat, sauté onion in olive oil until translucent. Add garlic; cook and stir for 30 seconds. Add zucchini and carrots. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
2. Reduce heat to medium-low and add tomatoes. Simmer 10 minutes.
3. Add beans and all remaining ingredients except cream cheese. Simmer 20 more minutes.
4. Taste for seasonings, adjust as necessary, and add cream cheese. Stir until incorporated.