I love taking Spaghetti-O’s for lunch as a quick fix during a busy week. I’m a huge fan of warm lunches and just think Spaghetti-O’s are fun, especially when the O’s come in fun shapes, like bunnies. I used a ditalini pasta because I had it on hand and use it a lot when I want to add a little pasta to soup, but I know I’ve seen some fun shaped pastas around, including alphabets, which would be a lot of fun with kids.
This recipe makes a nice thick tomato soup full of noodles and meatballs. I think next time I might make the meatballs a little smaller, not that they were large, but I think it would be even more fun that way. My favorite part of making this was that everything gets cooked in the same soup base, you just throw the meatballs and pasta into the pot at the end and it all cooks together! Makes for easy clean up!
Recipe (Via Tracey’s Culinary Adventures, Originally from America’s Test Kitchen Healthy Family Cookbook)
- 6 oz ground chicken
- 3 Tbsp pesto
- 3Tbsp breadcrumbs
- 1Tbsp olive oil
- 1 onion chopped
- 1 carrot chopped (I cut up 10 baby carrots since I keep them on hand for lunches)
- 1 small celery stalk chopped
- 2 garlic cloves minced
- 3 ½ cup low-sodium chicken broth (the original recipe was 2 ½ cup, but I like a little more broth to my soups)
- 1 (28 oz) can diced tomatoes
- 4 oz short cut pasta (I used ditalini)
- salt and pepper
- parmesan cheese for garnish if you like
To set up the meatballs, combined the ground chicken, pesto, breadcrumbs, and a pinch of salt and pepper. Mix until just combined. Make teaspoon sized meatballs and place on a plate, cover with plastic wrap, and set in the fridge while you prepare the soup base.
In a large dutch oven or large soup pot heat the olive oil then add the onion carrot and celery. Cook for 5 minutes or until the onion is soft. Then add the garlic for another 30-60 seconds. Add the chicken broth and tomatoes (including the juices) and mix well. Bring to a simmer, then reduce heat to medium-low and cook for 15-20 minutes until the carrots are softened.
Next is pureeing the soup base. Turn off the heat – I used an immersion blender and pureed the whole soup. If you don’t have one you can use a normal blender but I would suggest letting it cool a little, only fill the blender half way, and be very careful by putting a towel over the blender so it doesn’t explode when you puree the soup. You will probably have to do this in batches.
Return to medium heat and bring to a simmer. Add the pasta and meatballs and cook for another 12-15 minutes stirring regularly until the meatballs are cooked and the pasta is to your liking. Remember to check the soup for seasoning with salt and pepper before serving. I had to add a pinch of each.