Flavored with Parmesan and garlic and studded with raisins, scrumptious Sicilian meatballs turn vegetable soup into a tempting meal. If the soup waits, the pasta may absorb much of the liquid; just add water or more stock.
1/2 pound ground beef
5 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
1/4 cup grated Parmesan, plus more for serving
2 tablespoons raisins
2 tablespoons dry bread crumbs
1 egg, beaten
5 cloves garlic, minced
2 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon fresh-ground black pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 carrots, cut into 1/4-inch dice
1 onion, chopped
2 ribs celery, cut into 1/4-inch dice
1 zucchini, cut into 1/4-inch dice
1 1/2 quarts canned low-sodium chicken broth or homemade stock
1 cup canned crushed tomatoes in thick puree
1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary, or 2 teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary
1 cup small pasta shells or other small macaroni
How to Make It
In a medium bowl, mix together the ground beef, 4 tablespoons of the parsley, the Parmesan, raisins, bread crumbs, egg, half of the garlic, 1/2 teaspoon of the salt, and 1/4 teaspoon of the pepper until thoroughly combined. Shape the mixture into 24 meatballs.
In a large pot, heat the oil over moderate heat. Add the carrots, onion, celery, and the remaining garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables start to soften, about 5 minutes. Add the zucchini and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes. Stir in the broth, tomatoes, rosemary, and the remaining 2 teaspoons salt. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, partially covered, for 10 minutes.
Add the remaining tablespoon parsley, 1/4 teaspoon pepper, and the pasta to the soup. Simmer for 5 minutes. Stir in the meatballs and simmer gently until the meatballs and pasta are done, about 5 minutes longer. Serve with additional Parmesan.
Wine Recommendation: This robust potion calls for a similarly rustic southern red. Look for Corvo, a smooth and satisfying wine from the well-known firm Duca di Salaparuta.