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Porcupine Meatballs in Tomato Soup with Broccoli Rabe or Broccolini

Porcupine Meatballs in Tomato Soup with Broccoli Rabe or Broccolini


For the Soup:

  • 1 large bunch broccoli rabe (cime di rapa) or 2 bunches broccolini, trim ends

  • Salt

  • 2 tablespoons EVOO

  • 2 tablespoons butter

  • 1 large onion, chopped

  • 1 large fresh bay leaf

  • 4 cloves garlic, crushed

  • One 28-ounce can Italian tomatoes, whole or chopped

  • 1 quart beef bone broth or stock

  • 3 cups passata

For the Meatballs:

  • 1 ½ pounds ground beef or beef, pork and veal combined

  • Salt and pepper

  • A pinch of red pepper flakes

  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

  • 2 eggs

  • ¾ cup white long grain rice, parboiled 5 minutes

  • A handful of flat parsley, finely chopped

  • 1 tablespoon fresh oregano, chopped, or 1 ½ teaspoons dried

  • 1 cup grated Parm or pecorino cheese

  • 2 tablespoons EVOO

  • 2 cloves garlic, grated

To Serve:

  • Torn basil

  • Shredded Parmesan cheese


Serves: 4 to 6

For the soup, cook the broccoli rabe or broccolini in salted water at low rolling boil for 2 to 3 minutes, then cold shock, drain and chop into bite-sized pieces. 

Heat a soup pot over medium heat with EVOO and butter, add onions and season with salt.

Add bay leaf, cover pot and sweat onions 10 to 12 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add garlic and stir a minute or 2, then add tomatoes, stock and passata. Simmer 10 to 15 minutes more and puree with stick blender.    

For the meatballs, combine all ingredients and roll into balls. Slide into simmering soup, cover and cook 25 minutes or until rice is tender and beef is cooked through. 

Add broccoli rabe with 5 minutes left of simmer. Serve in bowls topped with basil and shredded Parmesan cheese. 

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