Mini Sausage Meatball Minestra
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (EVOO), divided
- 1 1/4 pounds bulk sweet Italian sausage
- 1 onion, chopped
- 3-4 cloves garlic, chopped
- 2 large heads escarole, trimmed, washed and chopped
- Salt and pepper
- Freshly grated nutmeg
- 1 can cannellini beans (15 ounces), drained
- 2 quarts chicken stock
- 2 cups short cut pasta, such as mini penne or ditalini
- Grated Pecorino Romano cheese
- Crusty bread, for mopping
Heat 1 tablespoon EVOO in a large skillet. Roll the sausage into walnut-size meatballs. Drop them into the skillet and brown on all sides, then remove.
Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons EVOO in a large pot over medium heat. Sauté the onion and garlic for 5 minutes, then wilt in the escarole and season with salt, pepper and nutmeg. Add the beans and heat through. Stir in the stock and bring to a boil, then add the pasta and cook to al dente. Add the meatballs back to the pot for the last 4 minutes of cooking. Adjust the seasonings and serve with cheese sprinkled heavily on top. Pass the crusty bread for mopping.