Escarole and Little Meatball Soup


Minestra

The soup is delicate but filling at the same time, with its pasta and baby meatballs. Unless you have Soprano-size appetites, this is a main-dish soup. We’ve cut the recipe in half so it will fit in your soup pot.

  • 1/2 head escarole (about 1/2 pound)
  • 1 1/2 large carrots, chopped
  • 12 cups chicken stock, preferably homemade
  • 4 ounces ditalini or tubetti, or spaghetti broken into bite-size pieces
  • Freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

Meatballs

  • 1/2 pound ground veal or beef
  • 1/2 cup plain bread crumbs
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
  • 1/4 cup very finely minced onion
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Freshly ground pepper, to taste

Trim the escarole and discard any bruised leaves. Cut off the stem ends. Separate the leaves and wash well in cool water, especially the center of the leaves where soil collects. Stack the leaves and cut them crosswise into 1-inch strips. You should have about 4 cups.

Combine the escarole, carrots, and stock in a large pot. Bring to a simmer and cook until the escarole is almost tender, about 30 minutes.

To make the meatballs: Meanwhile, combine the ground meat, bread crumbs, cheese, onion, egg, salt, and pepper in a medium bowl. Shape the mixture into tiny balls, less than 1 inch in diameter.

To assemble: When the escarole is almost tender, stir in the pasta and return the soup to the simmer. Drop the meatballs into the soup. Cook over low heat, stirring gently, until the meatballs and pasta are cooked, about 20 minutes. Taste for seasoning. Serve hot with grated Parmigiano-Reggiano.

Serves 6
From The Sopranos Family Cookbook by Allen Rucker and Michele Scicolone

Substitutions: Broth – used 1 lb. of escarole and 7 carrots to up the nutritional ante. Only used 8 oz. of broth to make room for extra veggies. Used maccaroni. Meatballs – doubled the entire recipe. Used lean ground turkey, quick oats in place of bread crumbs, shallots in place of onions, and pre-grated Parmesan cheese.

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