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Mini Meatball Soup*

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, 2 turns of the pan in a slow stream
2 carrots, peeled and chopped
2 ribs celery, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
2 bay leaves, fresh or dried
1 clove garlic
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 pound lean ground beef
1 egg, beaten
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup plain bread crumbs (I toasted a heal and crumbled it)
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

6 cups chicken stock or broth
2 cups water
3 cups dried pasta
2 cups cabbage (optional)
1/8 cup sugar

In a deep pot over medium heat add oil, chopped carrots, celery, garlic, onion, and bay leaves. Season with salt and pepper. Cover pot and cook veggies 5 or 6 minutes, stirring occasionally.

While the veggies cook, combine meat, egg, garlic, grated cheese, bread crumbs, salt, pepper, nutmeg.

Uncover your soup pot and add broth and water to the pot. Increase heat to high and bring soup to a boil. When soup boils, reduce heat a bit and start to roll meat mixture into small balls, dropping them straight into the pot. You are making meat dumplings that will cook in the broth. When you are done rolling the meat and adding to the pot, add pasta to the soup and stir. Add 1/8 cup sugar. Cover and simmer soup 10 minutes. When pasta is tender, stir in chopped cabbage (or spinach) in batches. When cabbage has wilted into the soup, the soup is done and ready to serve. Adjust your seasonings. Makes about 8 servings.