Italian Wedding Soup con Homemade Meatballs

In case you were wondering, “con” means “with” in Italian. As in “accelerando con moto” means “accelerate with motion” (going back to my music major days!). I digress and I’m trying to impress you with my Italian. Now if you’re a busy mum, I know I am, I just swap in some frozen Italian meatballs for this soup and call it good. BUT if you’ve got a little extra time homemade meatballs are so fabulous. I like these because they have a little extra kick than the store-bought. And they’re great even on their own, my kiddos love to dip them in ketchup. Of course, you can throw them in a marinara sauce, you can swap in feta cheese and make them Greek. I’m all about versatility 😉

For the Mama Jessica’s homemade meatballs, you will need:

    3 cups breadcrumbs
    1 lb of ground beef
    1 lb of ground pork
    1 egg
    2/3 cups of grated Parmesan
    3 tsp grated garlic
    1 1/2 tsp salt
    1/2 tsp pepper
    1/2 tsp crushed cayenne
    1 TBS chopped fresh thyme or parsley
  • Combine all the ingredients in a large mixing bowl and shape into 2 bite meatballs. I like to put them on a rack fitted over a foil lined baking sheet so the fat can drip down and you get a nice shaped meatball. But putting them on parchment is fine too. This yields 25-30 meatballs. Pop them in the oven for 30 minutes until they’re cooked through and golden and sizzling on top.

    While the meatballs are baking, make the zuppa! You will need:

    • 1 cup diced celery
    • 1 cup diced carrots
    • 1/2 cup diced onions
    • 2 TBS olive oil
    • 2 cloves garlic, grated
    • 3 cups chicken broth
    • 1 Parmesan rind
    • 1 cup short pasta
    • 3 TBS fresh dill
    • 1/2 tsp salt
    • 1/2 tsp pepper

    In a heavy bottomed pot, sauté the onions, celery and carrots in the olive oil on medium high heat, until the veggies are tender, about 7 minutes stirring often. When they’re tender, grate in the garlic and push it around a bit. (Not in a bullying way, in a NICE way, sheesh) Next add in the chicken stock and the Parmesan rind. I know it seems like a lot of chicken broth at this point, but it’s going to be ok. I promise. Put everything on a low simmer.

    When the meatballs are done, add 12-16, or however many you want to feed. I like to figure on 3 meatballs per person. You can freeze the rest, or refrigerate them to eat on their own later.

    About 10 minutes before serving, add in your pasta. My favorite is the little Israeli couscous pearls, but any short shape will do. Discard the rind. Season with salt and pepper. When the pasta is cooked through you’re ready to serve!

    Of course with any soup the garnishes are mucho importante. I like to toast some extra breadcrumbs up on the stove with a little butter and sprinkle those on top. Some extra dill is gorgeous, and of course extra grated parm!

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