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Playing Meatballs and Rice in Broth


  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/3 cup orzo
  • 1 cup white rice
  • 2 quarts chicken stock or broth, divided
  • 3/4 pound ground beef, pork and veal mix
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1/4 cup ricotta cheese
  • A few grates of nutmeg
  • About 1/3 to 1/2 cup breadcrumbs
  • 1 large clove garlic, grated or pasted
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
  • 2 tablespoons EVOO- Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 small head escarole, chopped


Serves: 4 as entre and 8 as starter


In a saucepot with a tight-fitting lid, melt butter over medium heat. Add orzo and toast to deep golden in color and fragrant. Stir in rice, add about 2 cups of chicken stock and bring to a simmer. Cover and cook 18 minutes, until rice is just tender, stirring occasionally and adding a bit of water as needed if rice begins to stick.

Bring remaining 6 cups stock plus 2 cups water to a boil in a soup pot. Reduce heat to low, rolling simmer.

Season meat with salt and pepper; add ricotta, season with a little freshly grated nutmeg and add breadcrumbs, garlic, egg, grated cheese and EVOO; mix to combine. Use a small scoop to roll 24-30 walnut-sized balls. Add meatballs to broth and simmer 8-10 minutes. Wilt in greens and turn off heat; let stand 2 minutes and serve in shallow bowls.