This is one of my favorite simple, filling, wintertime soups. The meatballs freeze like little rockstars, but I don’t recommend freezing this soup with the pasta and escarole; they won’t thaw well.
Mafalda is a wide, flat pasta that looks like tiny pieces of lasagna, and I love it in this soup- but you can swap a different pasta shape or leave it out- it’s up to you!
If you plan on freezing, store the meatballs and broth in the freezer and add the pasta and escarole on the day you cook.Print
2 pounds ground pork
1 large egg
½ cup breadcrumbs
1 cup grated parmesan cheese, divided
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
½ teaspoon ground garlic
6 cups chicken broth
1 large head escarole, end trimmed and roughly chopped
8 ounces mafalda pasta
1 fresh lemon, juiced and zested
1 tablespoon fresh lemon zest
- Combine the ground pork, egg, ⅔ cup grated parmesan, ground nutmeg, and ground garlic in a large bowl.
- Use your hands or a spoon and mix until well combined.
- Rinse and wet your hands, then roll the meatballs into small balls, about 2 inches wide. Transfer as you roll to a sheet pan or large plate.
- Bring the chicken broth to a rolling simmer in a large pot over medium heat.
- Add the meatballs to the pot and cook 12-15 minutes, until the meatballs feel stiff and have cooked through (pull one out and break apart to check)
- Add the mafalda and cook until al dente.
- Add the escarole, stirring to cover with the broth. Cook until the escarole has wilted, about 5-8 minutes.
- Remove from the heat and stir in the lemon juice and zest.
- Top with remaining parmesan and serve with a side of crusty bread.
Prep it for later:
- Mix and roll the meatballs. Transfer to a plate or a sheet pan that can fit in your freezer. Freeze for at least one hour or until they are stiff enough to be transferred to a large resealable bag or container. Alternatively, make the mix and transfer to a large resealable bag or container. Store in the fridge for up to 3 days, and then roll on the night of cooking.
- Trim and chop the escarole and transfer to a resealable bag, pressing out any excess air.
- Juice and zest the menon and transfer to a small resealable container.
Meatballs will last for up to 3 months in the freezer, or for 2-3 days in the fridge. Escarole and lemon juice will last for about 4-5 days in the fridge (lemon juice for likely longer, but I’ve never tried it for longer!)
1 resealable bag or container of either rolled meatballs, or meatball mix to roll on the night of cooking
1 bag of chopped escarole
1 small container of lemon juice and zest
Prepare from prepped:
- Bring the chicken broth to a rolling simmer and add the meatballs (you don’t have to thaw first)
- Cook until the meatballs are feeling stiff and cooked, about 12-15 minutes (may be longer if cooking from frozen)
- Stir in the escarole and cook until wilted, about 5-8 minutes.
- Remove the heat and stir in the lemon juice and zest.
- Top with remaining parmesan cheese and serve with a side of crusty bread.