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!!
Valentine’s Winter Vegetable and Meatball Soup of Love
- 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:
- Sauté the onions in the olive oil for a few moments to soften and then add the garlic and cook for a further minute.
- Add the balsamic vinegar, wine, tomatoes, tomato sauce and beef stock. Stir in the sugar and the oregano.
- Bring sauce to simmering point and then add the meatballs and cook for 20 minutes.
- Stir in the winter squash and continue to cook for a further 10 minutes.
- 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.
- Remove from heat and stir in fresh basil.
- To serve the soup ladle in to bowls and garnish with shaved Dubliner cheese Drizzle with additional olive oil.
Happy Valentines Day!