This Italian meatball soup is a hearty and filling meal, perfect for weeknight dinners! Ready in just under 45 minutes, delicious meatballs, simmering in a rich tomato sauce and served over freshly cooked pasta, are the perfect comfort food!
Although it may be a soup, this recipe is not a starter or appetizer at all. It is a complete meal unto itself.
This rich and hearty dinner, it is nothing like a thin, watery soup you may think of when hearing the word “soup”. The addition of beef bouillon with the sweet Italian tomatoes makes this extra rich and satisfying.
How to Make in under 45 Minutes
This recipe is so easy to make and dinner can be ready in under an hour! This includes making meatballs and soup from scratch.
Start the Meatballs First
To get started, you get the meatballs going which is as simple as mixing the ingredients together, forming them into balls and baking them for 15 minutes.
Make the soup base while the meatballs bake
While the beef meatballs are baking you can make the soup base. The soup is full of flavor and the key is allowing the soup to simmer so that the flavors can reduce and become rich and concentrated.
Cook the pasta while the soup simmers
As the tomato base is simmering you can cook your pasta according to the package instructions, rinse and drain!
The meatballs will have cooked through by now and can be added to the simmering soup.
That’s it! A delicious, hearty dinner that is ready in under 60 minutes that the whole family will enjoy.
Meatballs need to be able to hold their shape well and not fall apart, especially when served in soup.
They are baked before being added to the soup to make sure they are thoroughly cooked through and to also help them hold their shape.
Made with lean ground beef, eggs, breadcrumbs, parmesan cheese, and a couple of seasonings these meatballs might seem simple but they are full of flavor and work so well in this soup.
They are then added to the simmering tomato base where they get an extra boost of classic Italian flavor.
How to Serve
This is definitely a meal unto itself but it can also form part of a larger meal if you prefer. It is also a great option for a starter that will leave everyone hungry for more.
Serve this with crusty Italian bread on the side. This can be used to dip into the broth. You’ll definitely want to mop up any extra soup with some fresh bread. It’s a combination too delicious to resist!
You can also serve this dish with a simple side salad in the summer to keep the meal light and refreshing.
In the colder months, serve this meatball soup with a grilled cheese sandwich for a warmer, more filling meal.
What type of pasta?
I used rigatoni pasta for this recipe as it has a great texture for holding the sauce. You can really use quite a few different types of pasta depending on your taste or what you have in your pantry.
Some other great pasta shapes to try in this meatball soup are macaroni, orzo or penne pasta.
If making this meal ahead or meal prepping for the week, keep the pasta separate from the soup and meatballs.
If you freeze the pasta in the soup it won’t hold its shape as well when defrosted and reheated.
Freezing for Meal-Prep
It’s super simple to make some parts of this dish ahead and store. Dinner for the next few days is as easy as reheating everything and serving!
You can make the meatballs ahead, bake them and freeze separately from the soup.
- Bonus, you could even use the frozen meatballs in other recipes!
Then when it comes time for dinner, make the soup and just drop the frozen meatballs into the simmering broth.
If you want to freeze the completed soup, leave out the pasta.
Slowly reheat the soup and meatballs on the stovetop. Just make the pasta fresh and dinner is served!
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Meatball Soup with Pasta
- 2 tablespoons olive oil light
- 1 cup onion diced
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
- 29 ounces tomato sauce
- 14 ounces Italian stewed tomatoes pureed in blender or food processor
- 1 tablespoon granulated beef bouillon or 3 beef bouillon cubes
- ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 6 cups water
- 8 ounces dry pasta
- Shaved parmesan or shredded mozzarella cheese for serving optional
- Prepare a baking pan with sides by spraying with baking spray.
- In a large bowl, mix together the ground beef, eggs, parmesan cheese, breadcrumbs, and seasonings until well combined.
- Form the meat mixture into 1-inch bite-size balls and place onto the prepared baking sheet.
- Place the meatballs into the preheated oven and bake for 15 minutes or until the meatballs are cooked though.
- While the meatballs are baking, fill a large pot with water and heat over high heat and heat a separate large saucepan over medium-high heat and add the olive oil, onion, and garlic. Cook, stirring occasionally until the onions are opaque. About 3 to 5 minutes.
- Add the Italian seasoning, stir into the onions and garlic and cook for another minute.
- Add the tomato sauce, stewed tomato puree, beef bouillon, red pepper flakes and water and stir to combine and cook until the broth mixture comes to a boil and the bouillon is dissolved. Reduce heat to low and allow tomato broth to simmer.
- When the pot full of water comes to a boil, add the rigatoni and cook until done, following the manufacturer’s recommendations.
- Remove the meatballs from the oven and place into the tomato broth. Continue simmering while the pasta cooks.
- When the pasta is done cooking, remove from the heat and drain.
- To serve, place hot pasta into a bowl and ladle tomato broth and meatballs over the pasta.
- Garnish with parmesan or mozzarella cheese if using.
- Serve immediately.