Yesterday was one of those days where I just didn’t feel like leaving the house. My primary goal was to publish my third book and get caught up on the house-work. Then it started to snow about mid-afternoon, my husband lit a fire in the fireplace and that pretty much did it for me. I successfully published my book – the house-work? Yeah, that could wait! The combination of the beautiful snow, falling gracefully outside my window and the warm, crackling fire, set the mood for a hearty soup for dinner. So I headed for the kitchen and started to cook.
The meatballs are the star of this dish, so give yourself enough time to brown them properly using grapeseed oil, rather than olive oil, which tends to burn when pan frying. The browned bits in the bottom of the pan, along with the aged Parmesan cheese, gives your broth a luxurious flavor and that beautiful, deep amber color shown in the picture.
1 lb. ground pork
8 oz. low-fat ricotta cheese
½ cup seasoned Italian breadcrumbs
½ tsp. ground nutmeg
1 cup shredded aged Parmesan cheese
Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper
4 tbsp. Grapeseed oil
32 oz. low-sodium, natural chicken broth
1 cup chopped, canned artichoke hearts
2 cups fresh baby spinach
16 oz. old-fashioned egg noodles
1) Combine the first five ingredients in the list, including ½ cup of the shredded Parmesan and a generous pinch each of the salt and pepper. Form the mixture into about 20 good sized meatballs.
2) Working in batches, heat 2 tbsp. of the grapeseed oil in a deep pan and sear the meatballs over moderate heat, turning every 2-3 minutes until they are browned on all sides. This step is important as the meatballs need to be browned and firm enough to hold their shape without falling apart in the broth. They will cook all the way through in the next step.
3) Return all of the meatballs to the pan and add the broth and the remaining ½ cup of shredded Parmesan. Cover and simmer for about 20 minutes, to cook the meatballs through.
4) Meanwhile, cook the egg noodles according to package directions, drain and stage them nearby.
5) Add the artichoke hearts and spinach to the soup and cook a few minutes longer until the spinach has wilted. Adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper as needed.
6) Spoon a generous helping of the egg noodles into bowls and gently ladle 3-4 meatballs into each bowl along with enough broth to cover the noodles. Sprinkle the soup with additional shredded Parmesan and serve.