Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Meatball Spinach Pasta Soup

I like blogging for a number of reasons, but one is that you get to experiment.  I do search other recipes online and adapt them or change slightly, occasionally  or even remain the same exactly, but I always try to give credit.

And every once in a while, I just go out to the kitchen, and kinda make it up.

And sometimes I come in from the kitchen, after just having thrown away my "creation"....  but I learn from it.

But here's the deal. Every once in a while, I go out to the kitchen, and kinda make it up, and I hit a home run.

And this time I did.  It's kind of an Italian Wedding Soup theme, but man, this soup just rocked. And you don't have to take my word for it. 5 people at A Terrible Beauty tried it, loved it, and two guys I work with tried it and raved.

I'm calling it Meatball Spinach Pasta Soup. OK?

So I'm pleased to share.

And it's nice to come out of the kitchen, with something you want to share. Ya know??

And here, don't even look at the ingredients yet.

Just imagine a warm fragrant chicken broth, with a touch of Italian spice, the depth of onion, garlic, and leeks, the sweetness of tomato,  chewiness of the pasta and the fall apart tender meatballs who have their own seasonings, and then you get the spinach and dill that roll over your tongue,  balanced by a generous sprinkling of grated Parmesan/Reggiano cheese.

And yeah, you gotta make your own meatballs for this. (Well, you don't have to, I guess) I know, a pain, but once you make them, try them in the soup, you'll be making meatballs forever with my recipe.  They are the same meatballs you can use in spaghetti, grinders, BBQ appetizers.... they are versatile.

And they're easy.... Here's the link:

Also if you'd like to make your own Chicken Broth, here is my link for that.

Ingredients and Method:

 6 - 10 meatballs from my recipe or store bought (Par-bake mine for 12 minutes at 350 to render some fat)
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 large sweet onion, diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 medium leeks, washed and thinly chopped (white and pale green part only)
5 cups chicken broth (or a cup or two more if it's not enough)
1 tablespoon oregano
1 tablespoon basil
1 15 1/2 oz can diced tomatoes with puree
1 tablespoon salt (add more as needed for taste)
1 tablespoon pepper (add more as needed for taste)
1 cup prepared al dente pasta (elbow macaroni, rigatoni, or any tubular pasta)
2 cups chopped fresh spinach
2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill, or one tablespoon dried
grated parmesan/reggiano cheese

I made this in a Pressure Cooker, as I seem to be making all my soups in recently. To cook it traditionally, follow the instructions but cook at low heat for 90 minutes in a large heavy saucepan or dutch oven until vegetables are tender. The balance of the instructions are the same.

Heat pot or cooker over medium heat and add olive oil.  Saute onion and leeks until onions "sweat" and become translucent and add garlic and saute for three minutes more. Add broth, oregano, basil can of diced tomatoes salt and pepper, and meatballs. If broth doesn't cover the contents by at least an inch, add more chicken broth or plain water. Turn heat to medium high (on Pressure Cooker) cover, and watch until it begins to steam constantly. Immediately turn heat down to medium low, and let cook under pressure for 12 minutes. (15 p.s.i. if adjustable)

Carefully place pressure cooker in sink and run a stream of cold water over it until it pressurizes. Place back on stove, remove cover, and gently stir. (don't break up meatballs) Immediately add the cooked pasta, spinach and dill. Stir a bit until spinach completely wilts, and dill is incorporated. Slowly season to taste with salt and pepper. What I mean is, do a little of each, stir, let soak in, and then taste again before adding more. It's so easy to oversalt. I've done it more than a few times, and should know better.

Let steep for 10 - 15 minutes.

Ladle into bowls with one or two meatballs, sprinkle with parmesan/reggiano and enjoy!


Vivian said...

Thanks for your on-going series of pressure cooker soups! Your enthusiasm for this appliance has encouraged me to finally try it. Up 'til now I've been kinda scared of it. All I needed was a little push and the soups that resulted were, indeed, delicious.

CharlesR said...

This sounds terrific!

By seeing the picture I was surprised to see no paprika in it.

This is definitely a "To Try"

Thanks for sharing.


The Merlin Menu said...

I appreciate your "No paprika" comment but just a reminder, the soup, with my meatballs, have spices of their own that influence the soup. One of which is nutmeg, and I just can't get my head around nutmeg and paprika. That being said, using pre-made meatballs and I bet it would be delicious.

CJ - Food Stories said...

Thx for connecting with me on foodbuzz. I just subscribed to your blog feed and can't wait to see what your next post will be!