Tomato Soup with Turkey Meatballs and Pasta

Adapted from Cook’s Illustrated

The idea was to make a soup with a few favorite comfort foods in one bowl. I shouldn’t tell you that after just one spoonful, my husband said this reminded him of Chef Boyardee. Coming from him, an unabashedly honest lover of Wonder Bread and Ragu pasta sauce, that is a compliment. Music to my ears, in fact. I never thought I’d strive to replicate SpaghettiO’s. There are enough fresh vegetables, lean protein and whole grain bread crumbs here to remind you that this is anything but canned soup.

  • 8 oz. ground turkey
  • 3 tablespoons pesto
  • 3 tablespoons whole wheat bread crumbs
  • Kosher salt
  • Black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 small carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 1 small stalk celery, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2-1/2 cups chicken broth
  • 1-28 oz. can diced tomatoes in juice
  • 1 cup small pasta
  • Fresh grated Parmesan cheese, for serving
  • In a small bowl, combine ground turkey with pesto, bread crumbs, 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt and 1/8 teaspoon black pepper. Mix with a fork until evenly blended. Store in refrigerator while you prepare the broth.
  • In a heavy-bottomed saucepan, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Add onion, carrots and celery to the pan, then cover and reduce heat to medium-low. Cook for about 5 to 6 minutes, shaking the pan back and forth to stir the vegetables a bit, until vegetables are starting to become tender. Stir in the minced garlic and cook for about another minute. Add the broth and the diced tomatoes and their juice, and bring to a simmer. Cover again and allow to cook for about 15 minutes, or until carrot is soft.
  • Meanwhile, remove the ground turkey from the refrigerator and roll the meat into uniform 1-inch meatballs. You will have about 32 meatballs.
  • If you have a trusted method for pureeing hot soup, use it to puree the tomato and broth mixture until very smooth. I often use an immersion blender, but I find that it cannot make a pureed soup as smooth as I’d like it to be. My secondary method is to use a blender with no top. That’s right – skip the top or you are asking for quite literally a hot mess. If using a blender, fill it about half full, then place a damp kitchen towel over the top. Pulse it a few times, then let the blender run for a minute or so until the soup is smooth. You will most likely need to do this in two batches.
  • Return the pureed soup to the pot and bring it back to a simmer. Add the pasta and the meatballs and cook for 15 minutes, or until pasta is tender and meatballs are fully cooked.
  • Serve hot with freshly grated Parmesan cheese.
  • Quick Tips
  • 1. Use ground turkey, which includes white and dark meat. Ground turkey breast is going to be too dry for this recipe. You need the extra fat to help the meatballs stick together and stay moist.
  • 2. If you have some pesto in the freezer from last summer, this is the time to use it! If not, you can use ready-made pesto from the grocery store. I can admit to already having blown through my frozen stash from last summer.
  • 3. I used farfalletini pasta, which is tiny little bow ties. You can use alphabet pasta or any other tiny pasta. Cooking time may vary based on the size and shape of the pasta you choose, so check frequently to be sure not to overcook it.

Preparation time: 20 minute(s)

Cooking time: 35 minute(s)

Number of servings (yield): 4

One response to “Tomato Soup with Turkey Meatballs and Pasta”

  1. Bonita Suter says:

    I just made this last night. Yum! I’ll be making that one again.

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