Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Meatballs and soup a good mix

This column first ran in January 2007.

It’s been about a year now since I first clipped a recipe for Rachel Ray’s Spaghetti and Meatball Stoup.

The Food Network star featured the recipe on her “30 Minute Meals” show, and I later saw the recipe reprinted on a discussion group. “Sounds good,” I thought. But I never made it.

Then I got an e-mail from Food Network a few weeks ago highlighting soups, and the recipe popped up there. “Gotta make it,” I said. And I did.

Ray calls her recipe a stoup — “thicker than soup, thinner than stew.” Her version is delicious, I’m sure, but I made a few changes.

For instance, her recipe’s meatballs are made with a meatloaf mix of ground beef, pork and veal. I used ground turkey only. She also uses tomato sauce; I took the suggestion of several people who had reviewed her recipe and used a jar of spaghetti sauce. Instead of spaghetti, I used rotini pasta in my recipe so it would be easier to eat. And I cooked the pasta separately from the soup so the noodles wouldn’t expand too much and soak up the broth.

My version of meatball soup was a big hit at my house. We all loved it! The meatballs are flavorful and tender and make a good flavor combination on a spoon alongside pasta, veggies and a tangy sauce.

Just before Christmas, I mentioned how much I loved using my small cookie dough scoop. Well, I found a new use with this recipe. After I had mixed the meatball ingredients with a sturdy spoon, I just scooped up the mixture to make a meatball. I squeezed the handles on the scoop and dropped the meatballs one at a time into the simmering soup.

That’s just too easy. (And my hands stayed clean!)

My husband saved enough from the soup bowl for leftovers the next day. I put the noodles in a sandwich bag so he could add them separately.

Serve this soup with crusty bread, and you have a very satisfying meal.

Meatball Soup With Pasta
  • Small amount of olive oil for sauteeing
  • 1 to 2 carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 1 medium yellow onion, peeled and diced
  • 2 small ribs of celery, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, chopped (more to taste)
  • 1 26-oz. jar spaghetti sauce (I use Ragu Robusto Parmesan and Romano)
  • 2 14 oz. cans chicken broth (I use Swanson’s Natural Goodness with lower sodium and fat)
  • 1.3 lbs. ground turkey (that’s the set amount in the package I purchase)
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup Italian bread crumbs
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 1/2 pound pasta (I use whole wheat rotini or twists) cooked and drained
Warm soup pot to medium high heat and add enough olive oil to sautee; carrots, onions, celery and garlic. Sautee for 5 minutes. Add spaghetti sauce and chicken broth and cover pot. Bring to a boil and let simmer.

While soup cooks, make meatballs. Mix ground turkey with cheese, bread crumbs and egg. Roll into 11/2 to 2-inch balls or use small cookie dough scoop. Add meatballs to soup. Bring back to boil and let simmer for 10 minutes until meatballs are cooked through.

Add a serving of pasta to individual bowls and pour soup on top.

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