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Playing Pasta e Fagioli with Mini Meatballs


For the Meatballs
  • 1/2 cup homemade coarse breadcrumbs or panko
  • 1/4 cup whole milk, to moisten the bread
  • 1 pound ground veal or beef, pork and veal mix
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, a couple of handfuls
  • A few leaves sage, very thinly sliced or chopped or 1 teaspoon ground sage
  • A little freshly grated nutmeg, about 1/8 teaspoon
  • A small handful flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
  • 1 large clove garlic, grated
For the Soup
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 to 3 ribs celery, finely chopped
  • 1 white onion, finely chopped
  • 2 to 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 large fresh bay leaf
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 quart beef or veal stock
  • 1 piece Parmigiano-Reggiano rind
  • 1 14-ounce can small white or cannellini beans
  • 1 1/2 cups ditalini pasta
  • 4 cups baby kale
  • Grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, for serving
  • EVOO – Extra Virgin Olive Oil, for drizzling


Serves: 4


In a large bowl, combine all ingredients for the meatballs with your hands and roll bite-sized meatballs; set aside.
Heat a soup pot over medium heat with olive oil, 2 turns of the pan. Add chopped celery, onions, garlic and bay, and partially cover to soften, 5 minutes. Add tomato paste and stir a minute then add stock and 2 cups water. Drop in Parm rind, bring soup to a gentle boil and add meatballs. Simmer a minute then add beans and pasta, and cook to al dente. Soup should be thick rather than brothy. Wilt in the kale then season with salt and pepper.

Serve in shallow bowls topped with cheese and a drizzle of EVOO.