• For the Parmesan croutons:
  • For the chunky tomato basil soup:
  • Fresh basil, for garnish
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • Italian bread, cut into 1½” cubes 1 loaf
  • Kosher salt, to taste
  • Kosher salt, to taste
  • Mini mozzarella meatballs:
  • Pomi chopped tomatoes 2 (26-ounce) cans
  • Pomi tomato paste 2 tablespoons
  • chopped flat-leaf parsley 1 tablespoon
  • diced yellow onion ½ cup
  • diced yellow onion 1 cup
  • egg 1
  • extra-virgin olive oil 2 tablespoons
  • extra-virgin olive oil 1/3 cup
  • extra-virgin olive oil 2 tablespoons
  • freshly grated Parmesan ¼ cup
  • garlic, chopped 2 cloves
  • garlic, chopped 2 cloves
  • ground beef (80% lean/ 20% fat) 1 pound
  • low-moisture, part-skim mozzarella cheese, cut into ¼” cubes 6 ounces
  • plain breadcrumbs ¼ cup
  • roughly chopped fresh basil leaves ¼ cup
  • vegetable broth 6 cups
  • whole milk ¼ cup

Everything you love about a hearty and classic meatball sub, is broken down and served as a soup. It’s the perfect cure for the January blues. In this recipe, chunky tomato basil soup is filled with mozzarella stuffed meatballs and topped with fresh Parmesan coated croutons.

The meatballs are kept simple, using only ground beef instead of a combination of beef and pork. I like to bake my meatballs rather than cooking them in the simmering soup so they have a browned exterior. The mini meatballs are stuffed with bits of mozzarella and baked before being added to the soup. Leaving the soup chunky and forgoing the blender makes for a bit less work.


For the chunky tomato basil soup:

Heat a large saucepot over medium heat, add the olive oil and heat through. Add the onion to the pot and sauté until soft and translucent, about 6 minutes. Add the garlic and sauté an additional 30 seconds. Stir in the tomato paste then add the tomatoes and their juices to the pot followed by the basil, and vegetable broth. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for 45 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

Mini mozzarella meatballs:

Preheat oven to 375ºF. In a small mixing bowl stir together the breadcrumbs and milk and let set for 10 minutes.

Add the beef, onion, garlic, egg, parsley, salt and pepper to the mixing bowl. Add the soaked breadcrumbs to the mixture and use your hands to blend.

Scoop the mixture in rounded tablespoons and roll the mixture into balls. Push a piece of the mozzarella into the center of the mixture, closing the beef around it. Place on a parchment-paper-lined baking sheet. Bake until golden brown and cooked through, about 15 minutes.

For the garlic croutons:

Preheat oven to 325ºF.

Toss the cubes of bread in the olive oil until evenly coated. Spread in an even single layer on an aluminum foil-lined baking sheet. Season with salt and pepper. Bake for 20 minutes then sprinkle the Parmesan cheese over the top. Continue to bake until the croutons are crisp and the cheese has melted, about an additional 10 minutes.

For serving:

Add the cooked mozzarella meatballs to the soup and ladle into soup bowls. Top with the Parmesan croutons, a drizzle of olive oil and fresh basil.

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