- 3/4 pound ground beef
- 1/4 pound ground pork
- 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
- 1/3 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for garnish, if desired
- 1/4 cup Italian-style bread crumbs
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped garlic
- 1 teaspoon Emerilís Italian Essence or other dry Italian seasoning
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 pinches of crushed red pepper
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/2 cup chopped yellow onion
- 1/4 cup chopped celery
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 (14.5-ounce) can whole tomatoes, crushed with your hands, with their juice
- 2 (14-ounce) cans reduced-sodium beef broth
- 1/2 cup ditalini or other small pasta shape for soups
- 3 cups water
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
- In a medium mixing bowl, combine the ground beef, ground pork, eggs, Parmesan cheese, bread crumbs, 2 teaspoons of the garlic, 3/4 teaspoon of the Italian Essence, 1/2 teaspoon of the salt, 1 pinch of crushed red pepper and, using clean hands, mix until thoroughly combined.
- Using a tablespoon as your guide, divide the meat mixture into tablespoonfuls and roll into smooth balls with your hands. Set the rolled meatballs aside on a plate or other flat surface. Wash your hands.
- In a 41/2-quart soup pot or large saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat until hot. Add half of the rolled meatballs and cook, turning occasionally with the tongs, until browned on all sides, about 4 minutes. Using a slotted spoon or tongs, remove the browned meatballs to a clean plate and set aside. Brown the remaining meatballs in the same manner and set aside.
- Add the chopped onion and celery to the pot and cook, stirring with a wooden spoon, until the vegetables are soft, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the remaining teaspoon of minced garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add the tomato paste, crushed tomatoes and their juices, beef broth, water, remaining 1/4 teaspoon of Italian Essence, remaining 1/2 teaspoon of salt, remaining pinch of crushed red pepper, and stir to combine. Return the meatballs to the soup pot and bring the soup to a boil. Reduce the heat so that the soup just simmers and cook for 30 minutes.
- Using a spoon, carefully skim any fat that has risen to the top of the soup and discard. Add the ditalini to the hot soup, stir well, and cook for 15 minutes, or until the pasta is cooked through. Stir in the chopped basil and serve the soup in wide bowls, garnished with additional grated Parmesan cheese, if desired.