Italian meatball soup with orzo, spinach, and carrots

I went the extra mile for this recipe I adapted from dashrecipes.com!  I had the time this afternoon so I made a vegetable soup stock from scratch, using leeks, celery, garlic, and carrots, seasoned with bay leaf, fresh tarragon, and thyme. For additional flavor, I added a teaspoon of organic Better Than Bouillon Vegetable Base. If not for that detour, this recipe would be quick and easy. Of course, to save time, I used the carrots from the stock in the meatball soup, and saved the rest of the vegetables for puréeing later. I will add the purée to the remaining stock for flavor.  I recommend serving this soup with a simple salad or hot crusty bread for a light supper.

Italian Meatball Soup with Orzo, Spinach and Carrots
INGREDIENTS:

1⁄2 lb ground sirloin
1 egg, lightly beaten
2 Tablespoons whole wheat Panko breadcrumbs
1 Tablespoon grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, plus more for serving
3/4 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
5 1/2 cups light chicken broth (reduced-sodium, fat-free)
2 cups fresh spinach (no stems)
3⁄4 cup uncooked orzo pasta
1/2 cup chopped carrot
Salt and pepper to taste

DIRECTIONS:

1. In small bowl, combine ground sirloin, egg, Panko, cheese, basil, and onion powder. Using a teaspoon, shape into 1-inch balls.

2. In a large saucepan, bring broth to a boil. Reduce heat to simmer. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Add meatballs and cook 10 minutes on simmer. Stir in the orzo and carrot. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat, and simmer for another 10 minutes or until the meatballs are done. About a minute before the meatballs are done, add the spinach. Serve topped with additional Parmigiano Reggiano cheese.

Advertisements

pappardelle with mushrooms, rosemary, and tomatoes

Looking for a quick and easy pasta dish for a weeknight dinner? This one is perfect! However, the dish came out drier than expected. I prefer a more sauce-y product and if you do too, then double the sauce recipe. It is mild and very flavorful. For more bite, add red pepper flakes to taste. This is a vegetarian dish but don’t let that stop you from trying it!   The guys in my family object to eating their vegetables without some protein, so I added a cupful of slivered turkey ham to the pasta.

Pappardelle with  mushrooms, rosemary, and tomatoes
(from DanaSlatkin.com)

Serves 8 as a side dish or 4 as a main course

Ingredients

2 tablespoons extra ­virgin olive oil
1 large shallot, minced 2 garlic, minced
1/2 cup dry white wine (I substituted 1/2 cup apple juice. White grape juice is fine too.)
1 (15­ounce) can diced tomatoes with juice (I recommend any flavored diced tomatoes.)
1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary
1/2 cup low ­sodium chicken or vegetable broth
1/4 cup heavy cream or half and half (optional. Using it will result in a pale sauce.)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 pound homemade or store ­bought pappardelle, or other wide pasta (I used garlic and herb pappardelle)
1 pound assorted wild mushrooms, washed well
Grated Parmesan cheese, for serving

Preparation:

1. In a large saucepan, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil over low heat and sauté the shallot and garlic until fragrant and translucent, about 3 minutes. Add the white wine, increase the heat to medium, and simmer until the wine has reduced by three ­quarters, about 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes and rosemary and continue cooking until the sauce has thickened, about 15 minutes. Add the broth and cook until thickened slightly, about 10 more minutes. Stir in the cream, if desired; simmer for one more minute, and season with salt and pepper.
2. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.
3. Transfer the sauce to a blender and blend the sauce; keep warm.
4. Cook the pasta in the boiling water until it is tender but still al dente; drain (do not rinse) it and set aside.
5. While the pasta is cooking, heat the remaining tablespoon of oil in a large skillet over high heat and sauté the mushrooms until they are golden brown, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes. Season them lightly with salt and pepper. Cook’s Note: I added a cupful of slivered turkey ham slices to the mushrooms.
6. Add the tomato sauce and pasta to the skillet, tossing to blend. With a large serving fork, twirl the pasta and transfer it to serving bowls. Top each portion with extra sauce [Cook’s Note: if there is any!] and grated Parmesan cheese.

Related articles

spaghetti with Isaan sausage

Yesterday, Andy brought home a huge Christmas hamper filled with imported foods from Italy. I saw the spaghetti and the bottle of Passata di Pomodoro and decided to make a spaghetti with Italian sausage. But rather than try to find what I know will be an inferior Italian sausage, I decided to put in spicy Isaan sausage. Also called herb sausage, this product comes from the Northeast and has a distinctive taste. It is made of pork and spices–I tasted chilies and lemongrass among them. I bought two, already cooked and curled up so cozy, at the Seri Market, Paradise Park in Bangkok.

Ingredients
2 Isaan sausages cut into rings
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 large cloves garlic, minced
1 small onion, coarsely chopped
1 x 24 1/2 oz. (720 ml) bottle Mutti Passata di Pomodoro (tomato sauce)
4 tablespoons fresh holy basil, chiffonaded
black pepper to taste
4 portions spaghetti
lightly salted water
1 cup mozzarella cheese, grated
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, grated

Put lightly salted water on to boil. Cook the spaghetti according to package directions until al dente.

Heat the oil in a large skillet on medium high. Add the onions and garlic and cook until fragrant and the onions are wilted, about 3-5 minutes. Add the tomato sauce and sausage,  and cook until heated through, about 5-7 minutes. Add the black pepper to taste. Stir in the basil.

To serve, scoop cooked spaghetti into a bowl. Sprinkle on the mozzarella cheese, about a handful. Then top with Parmesan to taste. Generously spoon sausage and tomato sauce on top. I liked it; the sausage had a strong herbal taste that complemented the tart flavor of the tomato sauce. The cheese was discreet.  I served it with a lettuce salad and a simple red wine vinegar and olive oil dressing.