Polpette and Orzo in Broth

Photo: Randy Mayor

Spaghetti and meatballs (polpette) were a midcentury hit, but these lighter, truly Italian staples are lovely en brodo, or in broth. Serve with some crusty bread and a green salad.

Yield: 6 servings (serving size: 4 meatballs, 1 cup broth, 2 teaspoons cheese, and 1 tablespoon parsley)
Recipe from Cooking Light

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Nutritional Information

Amount per serving
  • Calories: 337
  • Calories from fat: 19%
  • Fat: 7.2g
  • Saturated fat: 3.2g
  • Monounsaturated fat: 2.5g
  • Polyunsaturated fat: 0.5g
  • Protein: 28.9g
  • Carbohydrate: 36.6g
  • Fiber: 2.1g
  • Cholesterol: 53mg
  • Iron: 4.1mg
  • Sodium: 823mg
  • Calcium: 165mg


  • 3 (16-ounce) cans fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 (1-ounce) slice Italian bread
  • 1/2 cup 1% low-fat milk
  • 1 pound ground sirloin
  • 1/2 cup minced fresh onion
  • 1/2 cup (2 ounces) grated fresh Parmesan cheese, divided
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 cup shredded carrot
  • 2 cups hot cooked orzo (about 1 cup uncooked rice-shaped pasta)
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley


  1. Bring broth to a simmer in a Dutch oven (do not boil). Keep warm over low heat.
  2. Soak the bread in milk for 5 minutes, and squeeze moisture from the bread. Combine the bread, beef, minced onion, 1/4 cup cheese, 1/4 cup parsley, salt, and pepper in a bowl. Shape mixture into 24 (1 1/2-inch) meatballs. Add meatballs and carrot to broth, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer 8 minutes. Stir in orzo, and cook 2 minutes. Sprinkle with 1/4 cup cheese and 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons parsley.
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