Meatball Soup

This is another one of my favorite Emeril recipes. It is wonderful on cold winter nights. The recipe is great as-is, but I’ve made it so many times I have changed  a few things, so I have included my version. I swapped a few ingredients, lightened up on the tomato paste, and took out all the extra salt. The beef broth, Romano, and Essence all have plenty. My husband prefers I keep the salt in our food to a minimum for his blood pressure so I often end up salting my food, but this was perfect for both of us. Another note – during the summer I have made this with freshly roasted CSA tomatoes instead of canned and it is delicious and a little lighter in flavor.

2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup chopped yellow onion1/4 cup chopped celery
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 (14.5-ounce) can fire roasted organic tomatoes
1 tablespoon tomato paste2 (14-ounce) cans reduced-sodium beef broth1/4 teaspoon Emeril’s Essence plus 3/4 teaspoon
3/4 pound ground beef1/4 pound ground pork2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1/3 cup finely grated Pecorino Romano, plus 1/4 cup, and more for garnish, optional
1/4 cup Italian-style bread crumbs
1/2 cup mini tortellini or ravioli1 bunch stemmed kale leaves, torn (or whatever greens you have on hand – adjust your cooking time based on how dense the leaves are)
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil leaves

Place a soup pot over medium high heat. Add the olive oil and heat. Add the chopped onion and celery to the pot and cook, stirring with a wooden spoon, until the vegetables are soft, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add the tomato paste and brown for a few seconds, then add roasted tomatoes and their juices, beef broth, tomato paste, 1/4 teaspoon of  Essence, and stir to combine. Bring to a low simmer and simmer for 15 minutes.

While the broth simmers, make the meatballs. In a medium mixing bowl, combine the ground beef, ground pork, eggs, 1/3 cup Romano, bread crumbs, 3/4 teaspoon of the Essence and, using clean hands, mix until thoroughly combined.

Divide meat into tablespoons and roll into smooth balls with your hands. Set the rolled meatballs aside on a plate or other flat surface. Wash your hands.

Carefully add the meatballs to the simmering broth. Gently stir, so as not to break up the meatballs Add the remaining 1/4 cup grated Romano. Simmer for 20 minutes, or until meatballs are cooked through.

Add the pasta hot soup, stir well, add the kale on top, cover, and cook for 15 minutes, or until the pasta is cooked through. Stir in the kale, then stir in the chopped basil and serve the soup in wide bowls, garnished with more grated Parmesan, if desired.

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