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Wednesday, April 13, 2011

MEATBALL SOUP (aka Italian Wedding Soup)

When we moved from Austin to the Gulf Coast the teen's itinerant teacher gave him an Emeril Lagasse cookbook because he was getting into the swing of cooking things.  This week he decided, out of the blue, he would give soup another try.  He'll eat Ramen - beef - plain....but nothing else.  Oh well, Campbell's tomato soup is okay as long as it has grilled cheese to go with it!  Anyway, he pulled out There's A Chef in My World and selected two new recipes to try.  Tonight it s Emeril's Meatball Soup (clever not to call it wedding soup - kids would much rather eat a meatball soup).  Since it is just the two of us tonight, I had to make a half recipe.  I made all the meatballs and froze half of them in my nifty FoodSaver vacuum sealed bag.

It sure smelled good while it was cooking.  I thought it tasted delicious too.  I used beef stock instead of beef broth so it is darker than the Italian Wedding Soup I have had in the past.  The meatballs are really fabulous...and I was happy to have found the pasta he called for.  I never noticed it before...but there it was at HEB...but it was called "Salad Pasta" instead of ditalini...well, yes, ditalini was on the package in small print.  Unfortunately, not available in whole wheat pasta which I serve 95% of the time.  That's okay though, since we don't make a habit of it :-)

Here's Emeril's recipe...and like I said, I halved everything except the meatball mix...but only used half of them.  I guess I used the full amount of pasta...maybe more than the full amount.  The teen likes pasta so I knew it would be a plus.

from Emeril Lagasse's There's A Chef in My World


3/4 pound ground beef
1/4 pound ground pork
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1/3 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for garnish, if desired
1/4 cup Italian-style bread crumbs (I used Progresso brand)
1 tablespoon finely chopped garlic (I used my Martha Stewart garlic press)
1 teaspoon dry Italian seasoning (or Emeril's Italian Essence)
1 teaspoon salt (I used kosher salt)
2 pinches of crushed red pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup chopped yellow onion
1/4 cup chopped celery (I left his out - I didn't have any on hand)
2  tablespoons tomato paste
1 (14.5 ounce) can whole tomatoes, crushed with your hands, with their juice
2 (14-ounce) cans reduced-sodium beef broth (I used stock - darker and more intense)
1/2 cup ditalini or other small pasta shape for soups
3 cups water
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil (from my plants on the deck!)


1.  In a medium mixing bowl, combine the ground beef, ground pork, eggs, Parmesan cheese, bread crumbs, 2 teaspoons of the garlic, 3/4 teaspoon of the Italian seasoning, 1/2 teaspoon of the salt, 1 pinch of the crushed red pepper and, using clean hands, mix until thoroughly combined.

2.  Using a tablespoon as your guide (I used a scoop) divide the meat mixture into tablespoonfuls and roll into smooth balls with your hands.  Set the rolled meatballs aside on a plate or other flat surface.  Wash your hands.

3.  In a 4 1./2 quart soup pot or large saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat until hot.  Add half of the rolled meatballs and cook, turning occasionally with the tongs, until browned on all sides, about 4 minutes.  Using a slotted spoon or tongs, remove the browned meatballs to a clean plate and set aside.  Brown the remaining meatballs in the same manner and set aside.

4.  Add the chopped onion and celery to the pot and cook, stirring with a wooden spoon, until the vegetables are soft, 3 to 4 minutes.  Add the remaining teaspoon of minced garlic and cook for 1 minute.  Add the tomato paste, crushed tomatoes and their juices, beef broth, water, remaining 1/4 teaspoon of Italian seasoning, remaining 1/2 teaspoon of salt, remaining pinch of crushed red pepper and stir to combine.  Return the meatballs to the soup pot and bring the soup to a boil.  Reduce the heat so that the soup just simmers and cook for 30 minutes.

5.  Using a spoon, carefully skim any fat that has risen to the top of the soup and discard.  Add the ditalini to the hot soup, stir well, and cook for 15 minutes, or until the pasta is cooked through.  Stir in the chopped basil and serve the soup in wide bowls, garnished with additional grated Parmesan cheese, if desired.

(Love the very thorough instructions!  It is a children's cookbook after all.)

The soup is delicious.  The teen ate most of his bowl...particularly loved the meatballs and went back to the stove and ate the rest of the meatballs remaining in the cooked soup.  I'll be having meatless meatball soup tomorrow for lunch...which is okay.

This bowl had lots of pasta - it was a great soup!

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  1. Thanks for coming and sharing your recipe! this looks great!

  2. hey! just wanted to let you know that you have been picked! i featured you in my Savory Sunday picks of the week post! Here's the link!

  3. ooooo....looks lovely! and oh-so-cozy!


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