- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil (EVOO), 2 turns of the pan
- 4 cloves garlic, chopped
- 1 bay leaf, fresh or dried
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 3 carrots, chopped
- 1 15-ounce can tomato sauce
- 1 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes
- 1 quart chicken stock
- 1 1/4 pounds ground beef sirloin
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce (eyeball it)
- A generous handful of flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
- 1 egg
- 1/2 cup Italian bread crumbs
- 1/2 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, a generous handful, plus some for passing at table
- Salt and pepper
- 1/2-3/4 pound spaghetti, broken into thirds depending on how "noodle-y" you like it
Heat a soup pot over medium-high heat. Add the EVOO, garlic, bay leaf, onion and carrots and saut 5 minutes or until softened. Season with a little salt and pepper then add the tomato sauce, crushed tomatoes and chicken stock. Cover pot and bring to a boil.
Place the beef in a bowl and add the Worcestershire sauce, parsley, egg, bread crumbs, cheese, salt and pepper. After thoroughly combining everything with your hands, roll the mixture into balls the size of a large walnut and drop into the soup pot. ("If youre cooking with kids, ask them to help you roll the meatballs. Theyll love it!") Once all of the meatballs have been added, wash up and stir the broken spaghetti into the pot. Cook 7 minutes more. Season stoup with salt and pepper to your taste and serve. Pass grated cheese at the table for topping.
TIDBITS: Pasta may be cooked separately to avoid becoming overcooked if the stoup is being served over a long period of time. Dab a little EVOO on cooked al dente pasta and keep in a bowl or even the colander, covered with plastic, until ready to serve. Place a small amount of pasta in stoup bowl, microwave 15-20 seconds and top with hot stoup.
If stoup gets too thick for your liking, stir in a cup of water or stock to loosen it up.
Add in peppers, mushrooms or even chopped zucchini to bump up the veggies in this dish. They may be added and sauted along with onions and carrots.