Spring is apparently on strike, so I thought today would be a great day to whip up some ultra-comforting mini meatball soup, may as well make the most of the chill with a cozy dish. Typically I use a beef, pork and veal mixture to craft my meatballs, but in this soup, it's all about the beef! This recipe is like Italian Wedding Soups really tough cousin, it's bold, full of flavor and hearty enough to be a meal. And that is coming from a person who doesn't get down with the concept that soup alone, is a meal.
Like most of my favorite recipes, the ingredients and prep time is minimal and the ingredients simple. I find a real key with this recipe is fresh parsley and some good cheese. I will stand in protest of pre-packaged grated cheese, don't do it. You are only cheating yourself. There is an irreplaceable ZING and glorious mouthwatering flavor that comes from a good parmigiano and it is worth those 12 seconds that it takes to grate it.
This soup is a big hit with the kids too, so if you are like me and have a toddler that is vegetable resistant, you can slyly trick them by adding in a green. I will literally grab a handful of spinach, kale or escarole, tear it up and toss it in. My girl can't tell the difference, we get those veggies in and I silently rejoice that I have won one a battle!
So let's get cozy and attempt to enjoy the final days of 40 degrees and below weather. Before we know we'll be sitting on the beach eating pepper and egg sandwiches. Until then, snuggle up and let's make meatball soup!
What Do I Need?
1 Lb Ground Beef
8 Cups of Beef Broth (you are going to need more, as the pasta sucks it up! So have more on stand-by for when you want to eat your leftovers)
3/4 Cup Acini Di Pepe Pasta (don't be intimidated, it's just a tiny pasta and it's in most grocers, nothing fancy here!)
3 T Romano Cheese
1Celery Stalk chopped
1 Carrot, peeled and chopped
1 T Fresh Parsley chopped
1 Egg Yolk
1 Slice of Bread, (I use a 2# slice of Italian bread, but you can use a slice of wonder bread and still be fulfilled)
Parmigiano Reggiano Cheese
Salt & Pepper
Take your slice of bread and wet it thoroughly, squeeze it to remove the excess water and in a medium sized bowl mix together your wet bread, ground beef, whisked egg yolk, salt, pepper, romano cheese and choped parsley, mix it very, very, well. Be sure to break up the bread and disperse it well so you don't have any big bread chunks. Pop that bowl into the refrigerator.
Finely chop your carrot and celery, add 1/4 cup of broth (or more if your pot is large, you just want your veggies to be covered but not swimming) to a medium or large pot and heat it up, add your carrots and celery. Stir frequently and be sure to keep the veggies lightly covered in broth and lightly simmering. I started doing this a few years ago as opposed to just adding all the broth and veggies at once. I feel like it really extracts the flavor form the carrots and celery and infuses the broth better, which eventually works it's way throughout the entire soup! While your veggies are simmering, take your meat mixture out of the refrigerator and start rolling and stock piling mini-meatballs! I like to make them about the size of a gumball, so about 1/2". By the time you are done rolling, your veggies should be a light color and the broth should have a golden tone, now add the rest of your broth, salt and pepper, and bring the pot to a boil, once it is boiling slowly add your meatballs one by one. When all of them are in, raise your heat and bring the pot to a boil again. Now add your acini di pepe pasta and cook for about 8 minutes. Serve with a healthy dusting of parmigiano!
The Acini di Pepe really absorbs the broth, so be sure to have extra on hand for any leftovers.