Meatballs in broth

Meatballs in broth

By
From
Sicily
Serves
4

We saw these tiny meatballs ready-made and for sale in a butcher’s shop in Scicli. The butcher explained they were for a soup. I thought it sounded delicious. Also in Scicli is La Grotta, a cavedwelling restaurant, where we ate this fabulous soup and begged the owner Angelo for his recipe. This is a meal in its own right, particularly if you serve it with hunks of crusty bread or add 75 g rice or tiny pasta shapes such as stelline, ‘little stars’, to the stock. You can add vegetables if you like, and you can stir in spinach leaves or shredded kale at the end for a green finale.

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient

For the stock

Quantity Ingredient
1 carrot, roughly chopped
1 celery stalk and leaves from the heart, roughly chopped
1 onion, roughly chopped
1 bay leaf
1 sprig of rosemary
cooked chicken carcass, (optional)
or meat bones, (optional)
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 litres hot water

For the meatballs

Quantity Ingredient
250g minced beef or pork, or a mixture of the two or cooked meat or stuffing
30g parmesan, finely grated
30g fresh breadcrumbs, made from gluten-free or wheat bread
1 shallot, very finely chopped or grated
1 teaspoon salt
freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 heaped tablespoon finely chopped parsley
1-2 eggs
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, for frying

For the green breadcrumbs

Quantity Ingredient
100g stale gluten-free or wheat bread, crusts removed
small handful parsley
1 tablespoon chopped celery leaves, (optional)
1/2 tablespoon rosemary needles
1 small garlic clove, peeled
25g grated parmesan, to serve

Method

  1. First make the stock by frying the vegetables with the herbs, and the bones if you have them, in the oil until lightly browned and just starting to stick on the bottom of the saucepan. Pour in the water and bring to the boil. Turn the heat down to medium and let the stock simmer gently while you make the meatballs. Remove the rosemary after 20 minutes.
  2. Combine the ingredients for the meatballs in a bowl with your hands. If you are using cooked meat or stuffing, you may need a second egg to bind the mixture together. Make one small meatball and flatten slightly. Fry it in a frying pan with a little of the oil and taste to make sure you are happy with the seasoning. If not, adjust the mixture accordingly. Then make up the rest of the meatballs – they should be just smaller than a walnut as they swell in the broth when cooking. Remove the bones, if using, from the broth with a pair of tongs and discard.
  3. Fry the meatballs briefly in the remaining oil until browned all over then lift out with a slotted spoon and add to the stock. Cook for 15–20 minutes until the meatballs are cooked through. Taste the broth and adjust the seasoning as necessary.
  4. To make the breadcrumbs, whizz the ingredients together in a food processor until they have a coarse, sandy texture. Season to taste and whizz again. The breadcrumbs can be mixed with a couple of tablespoons of olive oil and fried or oven baked for a crunchy texture or left soft.
  5. Serve the soup in warm bowls with the green breadcrumbs and Parmesan on the side, ready to sprinkle over.
Tags:
Italy
Italian
Sicily
Sicilian
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