Pastina in Broth with Tiny Meatballs / Brodo di Pastina e Polpettine
Baking the meatballs instead of frying them keeps them light and tender, and eliminates adding any additional fat. Having chicken broth on hand makes this a soup that can be ready in no time.
- 1/4 cup fresh bread crumbs
- 2 tablespoons milk
- 1/4 pound ground beef chuck
- 2 teaspoons freshly grated Pecorino cheese
- 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
- 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 2 quarts homemade or canned low sodium chicken broth
- 1/2 cup pastina or other small soup pasta such as stelline or orzo
- Combine the bread crumbs and milk in a small bowl and set aside. In a medium-size bowl, mix the chuck, cheese, lemon zest, salt, and cloves just enough to combine the ingredients. Gently mix in the bread-crumb-and-milk mixture.
- Preheat the oven to 350F.
- Form tiny meatballs using about ½ teaspoon of the mixture and roll each ball between the palms of your hands. To keep your hands from sticking, dip them in water occasionally.
- Place the meatballs in an 8-inch baking pan or dish; bake them for 6 to 8 minutes, then remove them form the pan with a slotted spoon and place them on a paper-towel-lined dish to drain.
- Meanwhile, bring the chicken broth to a boil in a pot. Stir in the pastina and cook until al dent, 10 to 12 minutes. Stir in the meatballs, lower the heat to medium, and cook about 3 minutes longer. Serve immediately with additional grated cheese if desired.
- NOTE: The meatballs can be made and frozen after cooking for future use. They'll keep for several months. Other broths, such as beef, veal, and vegetable, can also be used.
- VARIATION: You may also use Capon Broth instead of Chicken Broth in this recipe with excellent results.
This recipe was featured on Season 17 - Episode 1703.