Saturday, July 31, 2010

Red, Green, and White

It was around 100 degrees yesterday, and as the temperature at 7:30am today was 88 and rising, I think it is safe to assume that it will do the same today. But I will have to pretend that it is chilly outside because I want soup. Meatball Soup. This wonderful soup includes the colors of the Italian flag – red, green, and white – and makes a beautiful presentation at the table

Red from tomatoes, green from green beans, and white from acini di pepe which is a tiny soup pasta. The spice amounts in the recipe below are estimates as I measure with shakes and pinches, just add ingredients until it smells, tastes, and looks right. People should walk in to the room and exclaim that it smells just wonderful! I do not use salt (the Tabasco takes the place of salt for me), but you may prefer your food salted – so salt away. Always err on the side of more for garlic.

This substantial soup is absolutely superb when served with fresh brioche rolls. However tonight, as my tendinitis is flaring up and I can't knead dough, I will brown a loaf of crispy crunch Pepperidge Farm five cheese garlic bread.

Meatball Soup

Meatball Ingredients:

1 1/3 pound ground beef (more is fine, that's just what I had, if you use much more beef though, add another egg yolk or a T or so of milk to the mixture)
½ C bread crumbs – firm meatballs are best for soup so use the processed crumbs rather than torn pieces
1 egg
½ C Parmesan cheese (or Romano, or 3 cheese, your choice, but do use fresh grated - huge difference in taste)
2 T fresh parsley chopped or 1 t dried
½ t cracked black pepper
1 t oregano
3 t garlic, minced – or about 2 t of dried garlic

Soup Ingredients:

2 T olive oil
1 onion, chopped
2-4 C beef stock basically it depends on how many meatballs you made - now, if you went overboard on the meatballs, you might find that you need a little more stock or canned tomatoes to make it soupy. Taste and decide which would be best.
32-45 oz canned tomatoes - it all depends on the amount of meatballs.
2 t oregano
3 t basil
6 t garlic, chopped and smashed (or use dried)
½ t cracked black pepper
½ – 1 t Tabasco sauce (I use this instead of salt, if you use salt you may want to cut back a tad on the other seasonings, but really - you don't need all that salt)
1 t sugar
2 C cut green beans (I just use one bag of frozen beans)
½ C acini di pepe or other teensy tiny soup pasta


Mix beef, bread crumbs, egg, Parmesan, parsley, oregano, garlic and black pepper thoroughly and shape into tiny bite sized meatballs. Bake in a large pan sprayed with your favorite olive oil or use Pam at 375 about 25 minutes or til done and browned a bit. Set aside.

In a large sauce pan saute the onion in the olive oil til the onion is transparent, add stock, water, tomatoes, spices, and sugar. Bring to a boil then simmer covered 10 minutes. Add green beans and simmer covered five more minutes. Stir in the pasta and meatballs and simmer covered at least 15 more minutes until the pasta is done and plumped up. Taste and adjust seasonings.

Can keep on the stove for more simmering or serve immediately. If the pasta soaks up too much stock, just add more stock or tomatoes as you prefer - and then some more spices for the added liquid.

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