Do you remember SpaghettiO’s with meatballs? I remember eating that all the time as a kid, it was so bad for me, but both my parents worked and it was an easy after school snack for me to heat up when I got home.
Oh those were the days of eating bad, pre-packed, frozen, boxed and canned foods.
So, you wonder why am I bringing this up? Well a while back when I was getting lunch at Hale & Hearty, they had this soup – Cream of Tomato with Meatballs and Pasta. It sounded good, so I got it.
It was good – like 700 calories for a large good. Like reminds of SpaghettiO’s but for adults good.
Yeah, so after I figured out how many calories that soup was, I kind of stopped getting it. Now, I’m not a person who really keeps count of how many calories they take in each day, but I’m some what conscious of it and I really don’t like to have big lunches. Hence, having just soup for lunch, just enough to fill you up but not so bad that you feel guilty for what you are eating later that night
This is my version of that soup, I had already figured out how to make a creamy tomato soup – without cream. All I needed to do now was add some tiny meatballs and pasta “O’s” – which by the way, are hard to find. I used Ditalini pasta instead, it is little tubed pasta and perfect for the job.
I also used a meatball blend of veal, pork, lamb and beef but you are welcome to use all ground beef if you like.
Recipe:3 tablespoons unsalted butter 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil 1 medium onion, chopped 2 garlic cloves, minced salt and pepper 2 1/2 tablespoons all purpose flour 1 1/2 tablespoons tomato paste 2 cups low-sodium chicken stock 2 cans Whole San Marzano Tomatoes 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes 1 pound meatball blend meat or ground sirloin 1/4 cup chopped parsley 1/4 cup plain breadcrumbs 1 large egg 1 garlic clove, finely minced salt and pepper Ditalini pasta or pasta “O’s”
In a large dutch oven or pot on medium heat, melt the butter and olive oil together. Saute the onions about 7-8 minutes until translucent. Add the garlic and cook 30 seconds until fragrant. Season with salt and pepper. Add the flour and cook for about 1 minute, then stir in the tomato paste and cook an additional minute. Whisk in the chicken stock and bring up to a boil.
With clean hands, break up the tomatoes and carefully add them, plus their juices to the chicken stock mixture. Stir in the red pepper flakes. Bring everything back up to a boil and reduce the heat down to a simmer. Cover and simmer for 30 minutes.
Bring a large pot of salted water to boil and cook the pasta for 9 minutes, just shy of al dente. Drain and keep aside. The pasta will continue to cook in the soup, so we want to under cook it a little.
While the soup is cooking, in a medium bowl, mix together the ground meat, parsley, breadcrumbs, egg, garlic, salt and pepper.
To form the meatballs, I used the large end of a melon baller but a teaspoon would also work. Line the meatballs on a parchment lined baking sheet and bake under the broiler – on high – for 10 minutes. If your broiler runs hotter than mine, it might take less time, but the meatballs should have a nice brown crust on top. They are small, so they won’t take very long to cook through.
Take the soup off the heat and either with an immersion blender or with a regular blender in small batches puree the soup. Taste for seasonings and adjust if necessary. Return the soup to the burner on medium heat. Add the meatballs and pasta to the soup.
The soup will keep for a week in an airtight container. Perfect for lunch, or serve for dinner with a green salad or to really bulk things up add a grilled cheese sandwich to bring back more childhood memories!