Hearty Italian Meatball Soup Recipe
Order a plate of spaghetti and meatballs in Italy and you'll likely leave your waiter dumbfounded, scratching his head for an answer. That's because one of America's favorite Italian dishes is a purely American invention, one that generally hinges on our typical tenets of excess. In Italy, polpettine are more likely to be enjoyed in a lighter fashion, either by themselves or in a soup like the one below. The pasta is still there (albeit a much smaller portion of it), but the broth houses a handful of stellar vegetables and serves to keep the meatballs moist and luscious. Though it's light in calories, this is still a potent bowl of goodness—served with a lightly dressed salad, it makes for an incredible weekday dinner. Also perfect for meal planning as it will keep great frozen in the fridge. Double the recipe and you'll be set for the week!
Nutrition: 333 calories, 14 g fat (5 g saturated), 690 mg sodium
1 lb ground beef
2 medium eggs or 1 extra-large egg
1⁄4 cup bread crumbs
1⁄2 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
Salt and ground black pepper to taste
1⁄2 Tbsp olive oil
1 onion, chopped
2 carrots, peeled and chopped
2 ribs celery, chopped
8 cups low-sodium chicken stock
1 head escarole, chopped into bite-size pieces
3⁄4 cup small pasta, like orzo, pastina, or spaghetti broken into 1⁄2-inch pieces
How to Make It
- Combine the beef with the eggs, bread crumbs, cheese, and good-size pinches of salt and pepper in a mixing bowl.
- Being careful not to overwork the mixture, lightly form it into meatballs roughly 3⁄4-inch in diameter, a bit smaller than a golf ball.
- Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium-high heat.
- Add the onion, carrots, and celery and sauté until the vegetables have softened, about 5 minutes.
- Add the stock and the escarole and bring the soup to a simmer.
- Turn the heat down to low and add the meatballs and pasta.
- Simmer for another 8 to 10 minutes, until the meatballs are cooked through and the pasta is al dente.
- Taste and adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper.
- Serve the soup with extra cheese on top.