Mini Meatball and Ravioli Soup

Mini Meatball and Ravioli Soup

Everything about this soup is mini, except the flavor! Packed with mini meatballs and bite-size cheese ravioli that are the perfect size for your soup spoon, it’s brimming with roasted red peppers, tomatoes, garlic, onion, and fresh spinach. It’s stick-to-your ribs, hearty, warming and filling. A soup that eats like a meal.

The soup comes together fairly quickly and doesn’t take long to cook. The meatballs have the most delicious flavor, tender but sturdy enough to hold up to the soup and cooked to the point where they want to fall apart but don’t. The next time you’re craving meatballs and pasta maybe you’ll consider something a little different, a change from the norm that’s every bit as delicious and satisfying.

Mini Meatball and Ravioli Soup

Mini Meatball and Ravioli Soup
(by Reeni)
Soup:
1 large yellow onion, diced
1 roasted red pepper or green bell pepper, diced
olive oil, for sauteing
sea salt and fresh black pepper
5 cloves garlic, minced
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1 teaspoon dried thyme
2 (14 ounce) cans chicken broth (4 + 1/2 cups)
1 (14 ounce) can diced tomatoes
14 ounces bite size cheese ravioli
3 cups fresh Spinach leaves, rough chopped
Parmesan or Romano cheese, grated for serving
Meatballs:
1 + 1/4 pound ground beef or turkey
1/4 cup yellow onion, finely diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
3/4 teaspoon sea or kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 egg, beaten
1/4 cup seasoned Italian bread crumbs
2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese, grated

1. In a large soup pot saute the onion and bell pepper in 2-3 tablespoons olive oil until soft and tender, over medium low heat seasoning well with salt and pepper. Add the garlic, saute until fragrant. Add the bay leaf, Italian seasoning, thyme, chicken broth, tomatoes and season well with salt and pepper. Bring slowly up to a simmer. In the meantime make the meatballs.

2. Combine all the meatball ingredients in a large bowl. Form into 1-inch meatballs.

3. Once the soup is boiling carefully drop the meatballs into the pot. Bring back up to a slow simmer and cook for 20 minutes. Taste and season again with salt and pepper or Italian seasoning if needed.

4. Cook ravioli separately according to package directions. Add spinach to soup and cook for 10 minutes or until spinach is wilted. You can mix the ravioli into the soup or serve by spooning a few ravioli into each bowl and spooning soup over top. Remove bay leaf before serving with plenty of grated cheese.


Mini Meatball and Ravioli Soup

I’m sending this to Deb of Kahakai Kitchen for Souper (Soup, Salad and Sammie) Sundays!

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Ravioli Gnudi with Walnut Sauce

Ravioli Gnudi with Sage Walnut Sauce

Ravioli Gnudi are ravioli without the wrapper. Just the filling is used. Gnudi is Italian for nude. These are also called malfatti which is Italian for ‘badly made’ and may be a reference to filling that falls out of the ravioli wrapper when cooked.

The Gnudi are made by combining spinach, ricotta, Parmesan, eggs, nutmeg and a little bit of flour to hold them together. The mixture is refrigerated and them formed into ‘dumplings’ and refrigerated again for a short time. They are a breeze to cook, as easy as cooking fresh pasta. But they are fragile and need to be handled carefully. I was pretty certain they would fall apart when I cooked them. Or disintegrate. The secret is to cook them at a very slow simmer, not a hard boil, and drain them as soon as they rise to the top.

The hardest part of making them is forming them. Their very soft and fussy. And refuse to keep their shape. Don’t even bother trying to make them all uniform. It’s a nearly impossible task. And a messy one. Noone will notice once you douse them with sauce. Just call them rustic.

Being the curious creature I am I also pan fried some in a mix of olive oil and butter. I made this batch a little bigger in size. They browned up nicely and were denser in texture. But I prefer the boiling method for taste and ease. All this did was make an even bigger mess in my kitchen.

Ravioli Gnudi with Sage Walnut Sauce

I’ve seen these compared to gnochhi but if anything their the complete opposite. Gnocchi are dense and heavy. At least the ones I’ve had. These are light and fluffy like clouds. Little pillows that melt in your mouth. And with the flavors of the creamy sage and walnut sauce completely delicious.

The sauce can be made three different ways: with sage and without walnuts, with walnuts and without sage or with both walnuts and sage. A brown butter and sage sauce would be equally good. Or even a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and Parmesan. Or butter and Parmesan. And of course with a traditional tomato sauce if that’s what you prefer.

Ravioli Gnudi with Sage Walnut Sauce

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Gnudi (Serves 6)
(adapted from Giada De Laurentiss)
1 cup whole milk ricotta cheese
1 pound frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
1 cup Parmesan, grated
2 eggs
2 egg yolks
1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
5 tablespoons all-purpose flour, plus 1 cup for coating
Sage Walnut sauce or Tomato sauce,  for serving
1. In a large bowl, mix ricotta, spinach, Parmesan cheese, eggs, and yolks. Stir in nutmeg, salt, pepper, and flour. Refrigerate for a 1/2 to 1 hour.
2. Form mixture into small, flattened balls using a heaping teaspoon of mixture. If mixture is too loose mix in additional flour a tablespoon at a time until it is easier to work with. Mixture should still be pretty soft. Dredge the formed gnudi in flour to coat, tapping off the excess. Refrigerate for a 1/2 hour.
3. Bring a large saucepan of water to a slow simmer. Slide formed gnudi into the boiling water.
Be careful not to overcrowd the pan; work in batches if necessary. Remove the gnudi using a slotted spoon after they float to the top and have cooked for about 4 minutes.
4. Arrange gnudi on a platter and lightly drizzle with sage walnut sauce or tomato sauce.
Sage Walnut Sauce
(adapted from 365 Easy Italian Recipes)
2 tablespoons Olive Oil
3 heaping tablespoons Onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
8 fresh Sage leaves, chopped, optional
1 cup Whole Milk
1/2 cup Heavy Cream
1/2 cup Parmesan Cheese, grated
1 cup Walnuts, coarsely chopped, optional
fresh Black Pepper
1. Add oil to a large skillet over medium-low heat and saute onion until tender. Add garlic and sage, if using. When garlic is fragrant add milk and cream. Bring to a simmer and cook 3 to 4 minutes.
2. Add Parmesan and season with Black Pepper. Turn off heat. Mix in walnuts if desired.

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Ravioli Gnudi with Sage Walnut Sauce

Don’t forget to enter my Second Anniversary Cupcake Lover’s Giveaway!

I’m sending this to the lovely Pam of Sidewalk Shoes the host of Presto Pasta Nights this week, an event founded by Ruth of Once Upon A Feast.

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Ravioli Stuffed Acorn Hearts with Mozzarella Sauce

Ravioli Stuffed Squash Hearts & Mozzarella Cream Sauce

The moment I laid eyes on this recipe from Tyler Florence I knew I would be making it in one form or another. Bite-sized cheese ravioli are stuffed into the middle of acorn squash and covered in a creamy, herby mozzarella sauce flavored with garlic, thyme and sage. Parmesan and mozzarella are melted in at the end. Tyler’s recipe uses cream, but I cut way back on calories and replaced it with whole milk instead. It’s rich enough without. Tyler uses tortellini, I use ravioli.

Ravioli Stuffed Squash Hearts & Mozzarella Cream Sauce

The acorn hearts are cooked first, filled, and then baked again.

Ravioli Stuffed Squash Hearts & Mozzarella Cream Sauce

Ravioli Stuffed Acorn Hearts with Mozzarella Cream Sauce
(adapted from Tyler Florence, Stirring the Pot, page 78)

2 medium acorn squash (about 1 pound each)
extra-virgin olive oil
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
13 oz. bite-size cheese Ravioli
½ cup heavy cream
1 cup whole milk
1 garlic clove crushed
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage
1/8 teaspoon grated nutmeg
½ cup fresh grated Parmesan
1 and 1/3 cup Mozzarella, shredded, 1/3 cup set aside for topping

Preheat oven to 370 F.

Split the squash in half (cut lengthwise from top end to bottom end) cutting right through the stem so each half has a piece of stem attached. Scrape out the seeds with a spoon and discard. Cut a small piece off the rounded bottom to give it a base to sit on. Place the squash halves cut sides up on a baking sheet and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Drizzle with extra-virgin olive oil and bake in the oven for 35-40 minutes or until tender.

Meanwhile prepare the Ravioli mix. Heat a large pot of salted water to cook Ravioli in. In a separate saucepan heat the heavy cream and milk over medium heat with garlic, thyme, and sage. Reduce until thick and coats the back of a wooden spoon. Add the nutmeg, Parmesan, and Mozzarella, melt over low heat. Cook the Ravioli according to package directions. Drain and toss into cream mixture. Season with salt and pepper and then fill cooked squash hearts. There may be a few Ravioli left over. A snack while your waiting!

Turn the oven up to 400 F.Sprinkle the tops with the 1/3 cup Mozzarella set aside. Bake for about 10-15 minutes until the cheese is melted and golden brown.

Printable Recipe

Ravioli Stuffed Squash Hearts & Mozzarella Cream Sauce
This is my entry for Tyler Florence Fridays.