Toasted Pasta and Meatballs in Parmesan Brodo

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  • Level: Easy
  • Total: 40 min
  • Active: 30 min
  • Yield: 4 servings
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One 4-ounce wedge Parmesan cheese with rind, rind removed and cheese finely grated

8 cups chicken stock or low-sodium broth

3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 pound ground pork

1/2 cup Italian-style dry breadcrumbs

1 large egg

1/4 cup chopped dill, plus sprigs for garnish

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

4 ounces mixed dry pastas, such as orzo and angel hair

2 1/2 ounces curly or leafy spinach leaves (not baby)

1 cup frozen peas


  1. In a large pot, combine the Parmesan rind with the stock, garlic and a generous pinch of salt. Bring to a boil over high heat, then cover and let simmer over low heat.
  2. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine the pork with the breadcrumbs, egg, dill, 1/4 cup finely grated Parmesan, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt and 3/4 teaspoon pepper; mix well. Gradually mix in 1/4 cup of the Parmesan broth, then form the mixture into 16 meatballs.
  3. In a large skillet, melt the butter in 1 tablespoon of the olive oil over medium heat. Working over a bowl, break any long pasta into small pieces. Add all the pasta to the skillet and cook, stirring, until browned all over, about 5 minutes. Add the pasta to the Parmesan broth.
  4. Wipe out the skillet and heat the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium heat. Add the meatballs and cook, turning occasionally, until browned all over, 5 to 7 minutes. Add the meatballs to the Parmesan broth, cover and simmer until the meatballs are cooked through, 5 to 7 minutes. Stir in the spinach and peas and simmer until warm, 3 minutes. Serve in bowls, topped with grated Parmesan, dill sprigs and black pepper.