Nostalgia Per I’Italia


My culinary background is nothing short of a mess. My main influence and teacher has been the Food Network, followed closely by BRAVO.. But back in the dim crevices of my adolescent brain, I recall my Italian step grandmother making me pat down pork roast (Kosher!?) and adding carbs to dishes in ways even my juvenile mind found astonishing. My affinity for soups stems straight to my Jewish roots, my true first memory cooking is standing in the kitchen with my grandmother, forming matzo balls and dropping them into a steaming pot of delicious homemade chicken broth; chicken bones still haunting the kitchen. The conjunction of the love of these flavors, colors, and shapes brought me to this classic dish: Italian Meatball Soup! It’s perfect for fall; bright, delicious, and filling.. & best of all, it’s super easy!

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil2 carrots, peeled and chopped
1 Can tomato paste/ 2 Whole tomoatoes
2 ribs celery, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
2 bay leaves, fresh or dried
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 pound ground beef, pork and veal combined (or whatever you have!)
1 egg, beaten
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano or Romano (again, whatever works!)
1/2 cup plain bread crumbs
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated or ground nutmeg
6 cups chicken stock or broth
2 cups water
1 1/2 cups dried pasta – i use macaroni
1 pound triple washed fresh spinach, coarsely chopped (or pulled apart, as I like to do)
In a deep pot over medium heat add oil, chopped carrots, celery and onions and bay leaves. Season with salt and pepper. Cover pot and cook veggies 5 or 6 minutes, stirring occasionally.

While the veggies cook, combine meat, egg, garlic, grated cheese, bread crumbs, salt, pepper, nutmeg.

Uncover your soup pot and add broth, water, and tomato to the pot. Increase heat to high and bring soup to a boil. When soup boils, reduce heat a bit and start to roll meat mixture into small balls, dropping them straight into the pot. Add macaroni. Cover and simmer soup 10 minutes.
When pasta is tender, stir in chopped spinach in batches. walla! You’re done!

The soup was even better the next day.. I keep adding new/different veggies each time I make it, so feel free to experiment with your favorite fall veggies!


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