If you were a spaghetti-o fan as a child, then this soup will be right up your alley! It is kid-friendly and is great comfort food for all the chilly days we have been having. Serve this for dinner or lunch with a salad and it makes a great filling meal. Once I wrote this recipe out for you, it seemed like a lot of steps and ingredients, but once you make the meatballs, the rest is basically dumping stuff in a soup pot, so don’t be discouraged by all the steps in the recipe! Feel free to use pre made mini meatballs (if you are local, Conzatti’s sells mini frozen meatballs) or store bought sauce to make this an even easier and super quick meal. This recipe makes a ton and freezes well, so you can easily get a couple meals from it.
I am going to share my go to meatball recipe, which I have been using for years. The measurements are approximate but I did my best to give you a guide on how much to use. If you have never tried using a milk soaked slice of bread in your meatballs, give it a try! It makes the meatballs super moist!
Spaghetti and Meatball Soup
Yields at least 6 good sized bowls of soup
For the meatballs
1 lb lean ground beef
1 slice of bread, crusts removed
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
1/4 tsp. pepper
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/4 tsp. dried or fresh basil
1 egg, scrambled with a fork
1/4 cup breadcrumbs (if necessary)
For the soup
1/2 lb small pasta, like ditalini
28 ounce can crushed tomatoes
32 ounces low sodium chicken broth
28 ounces of spaghetti sauce, or seasoned tomato sauce (I used leftover sauce from a previous meal, use whatever you have)
salt and pepper to taste
For the croutons
4 slices of Italian bread, cubed
1 tsp. garlic powder
2 tbsp. butter, melted
To prepare the meatballs, preheat oven to 375 degrees and spray a baking sheet with cooking spray. In a small bowl, place the slice of bread and cover with the 1/2 cup of milk, let sit till milk soaks in. In a large mixing bowl, mix all meatball ingredients except for the bread and bread crumbs. Mix thoroughly with your hands. Once the milk has soaked into the bread, crumble up the soggy bread with your hands into the meatball mixture. Add any remaining milk from the bowl into the mixture as well. Mix meatballs again, being careful not to over mix. If mixture feels too wet or doesn’t form easily into balls, add the breadcrumbs.
*Here is my secret to making delicious meatballs. Before you bake them, break off a small piece of your mixture and fry in a small frying pan until cooked through. Taste it and check for seasonings, texture, etc. By testing a small amount, you don’t roll out all your meatballs and cook them and THEN find out that they are bland, soggy, etc.
Roll your mixture into balls. For this soup, I made them very small, about a nickle size around. You will get a ton! Bake the meatballs in the preheated oven for 8-10 minutes, or until brown. Drain the fat and set aside.
To make the soup, boil your pasta separately. In a large pot, add the soup ingredients and when the pasta is ready add to the pot. Stir well and then add the meatballs. I only added about 3/4 of the meatballs because it made so many. Simmer over low-medium heat for 30 minutes, stirring frequently. The longer you let simmer, the thicker your soup will be, so the timing is up to you. If you soup gets too thick and resembles pasta instead of soup, just add more chicken broth or water until it is your desired thickness.
To make the croutons, mix all ingredients well and then bake in the oven for 8-10 minutes. Put croutons on top of your soup and garnish with shredded Parmesan cheese. Enjoy!