Valentine’s butternut squash and meatball soup

Butter squash meatball soup-4

Valentines day is rapidly approaching and it’s time to eat the food of love; and for my Irish palette that means hearty meaty soups, red wine and of course, lots of chocolate!  I had a head start with creativity this month when I was asked to create a Valentines themed menu for a range of gourmet olive oil and vinegar stores in Atlanta, the wonderful Oli + Ve Stores in Roswell, Buckhead and Vinings GA.  This chunky soup is a huge hit with guests and a perfect meal to serve the family next weekend. Of course I cannot let this inspired soup of love go without a little Irish touch in the ingredients, eh?  So, just try some shavings of Dublin Kerrygold cheese (a quality cheddar with just a hint of Parmesan taste).  Yes, I know you and yours will love it!…serve with your favorite hearty red, and you never know!!

Butter squash meatball soup-14

 Valentine’s Winter Vegetable and Meatball Soup of Love

(serves 4-6)

  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 cups Vidalia onions (chopped)
  • 2 garlic cloves (crushed)
  • ¼ cup balsamic vinegar
  • ½ cup red wine
  • 1 Tbsp of granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp oregano (dried)
  • 20 mini size (organic frozen style meat balls)
  • 1 cup of winter squash (diced in small ½’ pieces)
  • 1 cup roasted red peppers (chopped)
  • 2 (8oz cans) of tomato’s (chopped with juice)
  • 1( 8 oz) can of tomato sauce
  • 2 pints of beef stock
  • 3/4 cup of elbow macaroni pasta
  • 1 cup fresh basil (chopped)
  • 2 oz Dubliner cheese (shaved)
  • Olive oil (to drizzle)

How to make it:

  1. Sauté the onions in the olive oil for a few moments to soften and then add the garlic and cook for a further minute.
  2. Add the balsamic vinegar, wine, tomatoes, tomato sauce and beef stock.  Stir in the sugar and the oregano.
  3. Bring sauce to simmering point and then add the meatballs and cook for 20 minutes.
  4. Stir in the winter squash and continue to cook for a further 10 minutes.
  5. Add the elbow macaroni pasta and roasted red peppers.  Continue to cook the soup until the pasta is al dente and that is between 7-9 minutes for macaroni pasta.
  6. Remove from heat and stir in fresh basil.
  7. To serve the soup ladle in to bowls and garnish with shaved Dubliner cheese   Drizzle with additional olive oil.

Happy Valentines Day!

Judith

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