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Veal Meatball and Broccoli Rabe Stoup


  • 1 1/4-1 1/2 pounds broccoli rabe (1 large bunch), trimmed and cut into large, bite-size pieces

  • Salt

  • Extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)

  • 4 cloves garlic, 1 minced, 3 chopped

  • 1 carrot, peeled and chopped

  • 1 medium onion, chopped

  • 1 can white beans or cannellini (15 ounces)

  • Black pepper

  • 1 quart chicken stock

  • 2 cups beef or vegetable stock

  • 1/3 pound orecchiette, little ear shaped pasta, or ditalini, small, tube shaped pasta

  • 1 pound ground veal

  • 1 egg

  • 1/2 cup breadcrumbs (a couple handfuls)

  • 1/4 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano or Romano cheese (a generous handful), plus some to pass at table

  • 2-3 fresh sage leaves, finely chopped

  • Crusty bread, for mopping


Bring a couple inches of water to a boil in a medium skillet. Add salt to boiling water. Add the broccoli rabe and cook for 7-8 minutes. Drain rabe and reserve. While rabe cooks, heat a medium soup pot over medium to medium-high heat with two tablespoons EVOO. Add three cloves chopped garlic, carrots and onions. Cook 5-6 minutes; add white beans and heat through, one minute. Season veggies and beans with salt and pepper. Add drained rabe and the stocks and cover pot to bring to a quick boil. Add orecchiette and stir. Reduce heat and simmer stoup to a low-rolling boil, uncovered. Mix veal with egg, remaining clove minced garlic, breadcrumbs, cheese, sage and salt and pepper. Roll into 1-inch balls and drop into stoup. Cook five minutes. Adjust seasonings and serve stoup in shallow bowls with crusty bread.