Prep 25 mins
Cook 45 mins
I adapted this from a recipe from the Food Network, to meet my family's tastes. It's a wonderful soup that will become one of your favorites immediately It freezes beautifully, if there are any leftovers! Don't cut your spinach or basil with a knife, as it will turn the leaves black and not very appealing. Before your soup is done, taste it! This is where you make your final adjustments. Does it need more salt? Does the flavor of the basil come through? Be sure to add any extra spices at this time, not everyone likes the same amount of Italian seasoning, (for example) so season to your taste. This freezes very well. If you freeze soups, always leave at least 1 inch of head-space between your food and the top of the lid.I always buy whole tomatoes and crush them myself. Tyler Florence said that diced tomatoes were flavorless and nearly colorless, I agree! Note: in the Nutritional values, the calories, etc. are given for the WHOLE recipe, not per serving.
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1⁄2 cup onion, chopped
- 1⁄4 cup celery, chopped
- 3 garlic cloves, chopped
- 1 small carrot, peeled and chopped
- 1 (14 1/2 ounce) can whole tomatoes, crushed with your hands, with their juice (remove the tough stem parts)
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 2 (14 ounce) cans reduced-sodium beef broth
- 1⁄2 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning, plus 3/4 tsp
- 1⁄2 teaspoon salt, plus 1/2 teaspoon
- 3⁄4 lb ground beef
- 1⁄4 lb ground pork
- 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
- 1⁄3 cup finely grated parmesan cheese, plus 1/4 cup, and more for garnish (optional)
- 1⁄4 cup Italian seasoned breadcrumbs
- 1⁄2 cup ditalini (or other small pasta shape for soups)
- 3 cups baby spinach leaves, torn into small pieces
- 3 tbsp.fresh basil leaves, torn into small pieces
- Place a soup pot over medium high heat. Add the olive oil and heat. Add the chopped onion, celery, and carrot 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 crushed tomatoes and their juices, beef broth, tomato paste, 1/2 teaspoons of Italian seasoning, and 1/2 teaspoon of salt 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 Parmesan, bread crumbs, 3/4 teaspoons of the Italian seasoning, and 1/2 teaspoons of the salt 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 Parmesan. Simmer for 20 minutes, or until meatballs are cooked through.
- Add the ditalini and chopped spinach to the hot soup, stir well, and cook for 15 minutes, or until the pasta is cooked through. Stir in the chopped basil and serve the soup in wide bowls, garnished with additional grated Parmesan, if desired.
This is absolutely delicious. I used frozen turkey meatballs instead of making them myself to save time. I have made it twice so far with excellent reviews from everyone who has eaten it. It tastes like spaghetti and meatballs in a soup.