Meatball & Orzo Soup

meatball orzo soup

I get it, really I do: we’re busy. We’ve just survived September, which for families with kids often means getting used to new schedules, new carpooling arrangements, and new homework struggles. The weather is changing, too: crisp and chilly one day and hot the next. It’s hard to plan ahead when everything from schedules to the weather is in flux. When iffy weather comes around, I like to make this quick meatball and orzo soup.

It goes together, start to finish, in 45 minutes or less – great for busy times. When I know I’m going to have a time crunch some day in the week, I make it ahead of time. Like many soups, this one is even better a day or two after it’s first made.

preparation

Thaw the meatballs, if you’re using frozen (I use the microwave). If they are tiny meatballs, leave them whole; otherwise, cut them in halves or quarters, so that they are bite-sized. Chop the onion into fine dice (you’ll have about 1 cup). Peel and dice the carrots (you’ll have about 2 cups). Mince the garlic or push it through a garlic press. Wash the spinach and shake it dry, then chop it roughly.

 

cook

Heat the oil over medium heat in a large stockpot. Add the onions, carrots, and garlic, and  sauté, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are tender, about 5 minutes.

Add the stock, water, and tomatoes with their liquid. Cover and bring to a boil. Add the Italian seasoning blend, the orzo and the meatballs (if they are large, cut them in half or quarters) and stir frequently for a minute or two, so the pasta doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pot. Reduce the heat and simmer, partially covered, for 15 minutes. Stir in the spinach and let it wilt. Garnish each serving with a sprinkling of Parmesan or Romano cheese.

 

to make ahead

While the soup is very nice served immediately, it’s even better after the flavors have had time to meld. My advice?  Put this soup together while you’re making something else for supper – it’s easy, no problem  – then let it cool, and stick it in the refrigerator for tomorrow or even the next day. You’ll have an amazingly wonderful soup you just need to heat and eat. If the orzo has thickened the soup too much, which it can sometimes do, just add some V8 or tomato juice to bring it back to your ideal soup-like texture.

 

Recipe for meatball and orzo soup adapted from The Six O’Clock Scramble by Aviva Goldfarb

meatball orzo soup

Meatball & Orzo Soup

Course: Soup
Cuisine: American
Keyword: bread, no-knead, easy, make-ahead, quick, soup, meatballs
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
A lovely quick soup - make it now or make it ahead of time
Print Recipe

Ingredients

  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 small onion
  • 2 large carrots
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 15-oz can diced tomatoes, with their liquid
  • 1 tsp dried Italian seasoning
  • 12-16 oz precooked mini meatballs (usually found in the frozen case)
  • ½ cup orzo or small ditalini
  • 1 bunch fresh spinach or chard
  • grated Parmesan or Romano cheese for garnish
  • V8 or tomato juice as needed, for reheating

Instructions

  • Thaw the meatballs, if you’re using frozen (I use the microwave). If they are tiny meatballs, leave them whole; otherwise, cut them in halves or quarters, so that they are bite-sized.
    Chop the onion into fine dice (you’ll have about 1 cup). Peel and dice the carrots (you’ll have about 2 cups). Mince the garlic or push it through a garlic press. Wash the spinach and shake it dry, then chop it roughly.
  • Heat the oil over medium heat in a large pot. Add the onions, carrots, and garlic, and  sauté, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are tender, about 5 minutes.
  • Add the stock, water, and tomatoes with their liquid. Cover and bring to a boil. Add the Italian seasoning blend, the orzo and the meatballs (if they are large, cut them in half or quarters) and stir frequently for a minute or two, so the pasta doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pot.
    Reduce the heat and simmer, partially covered, for 15 minutes.
    Stir in the spinach and let it wilt. Garnish each serving with a sprinkling of Parmesan or Romano cheese.

TO MAKE AHEAD

  • While the soup is very nice served immediately, it’s even better after the flavors have had time to meld. My advice?  Put this soup together while you’re making something else for supper – it’s easy, no problem  – then let it cool, and stick it in the refrigerator for tomorrow or even the next day. You’ll have an amazingly wonderful soup you just need to heat and eat. If the orzo has thickened the soup too much, which it can sometimes do, just add some V8 or tomato juice to bring it back to your ideal soup-like texture.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Welcome

I’m Maurita Plouff, and I write about cooking and preserving the local harvest in Southeast Michigan. Any recipe you find here is something I have cooked myself, and enjoyed, and think you might like too. I invite you to try the recipes, and leave comments.

Get all the Good Stuff

Never miss a post! Add your email here.

Blog Posts by Month