On a very lazy Saturday off, I was watching an episode of Rachael Ray’s Week in a Day on Cooking Channel and I was instantly sucked in thanks to the “noodle” theme she had going. I love noodles any which way; they’re fun, versatile, and usually a cinch to whip up. One particular recipe really caught my eye – Chinese Spaghetti and Meatballs. What an idea; combining my Italian roots with my love of Asian cuisine. I wrote up a grocery list and the following day I headed to the store.
It was at the local store that this recipe went from being very easy to incredibly difficult. Grocery stores in New York City are underwhelming in selection, confusing in layout, and generally inconsistent in stock. The store didn’t have three of the main ingredients: ground pork, baby bok choy, and Chinese 5 spice. I should’ve walked the extra block to the larger store, but it’s February and I hate facing crowded grocery stores on Sundays, so I got creative. The result? Delicious.
What I didn’t expect was how much Nick would love the meatballs. Next time around I would add another half pound of meat to be safe.
Asian Noodle Soup with Meatballs
(adapted from Rachael Ray’s Chinese Spaghetti and Meatballs)
- 1 lb ground lamb
- 1/2 tsp cinammon
- 1/2 tsp coriander
- 1/2 tsp oregano
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp pepper
- 2 inches fresh ginger: 1/2 grated, 1/2 sliced
- 1/2 cup breadcrumbs (mine were “Italian style”)
- 1 bunch scallions: 1/2 minced, 1/2 finely chopped
- 1 egg yolk, beaten
- 2 cloves garlic: 1/2 grated, 1/2 sliced
- sesame oil, to taste
- 2 red chiles, seeded and sliced
- 1 quart chicken stock
- 1 bunch broccoli rabe, chopped
- 1/4 cup soy sauce
- 1/2 lb spaghetti
- flat leaf parsley, as garnish
To get things started, preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Then, combine the lamb, spices, grated ginger, bread crumbs, minced scallions, egg yolk, grated garlic, and sesame oil in a bowl. Go on and get your hands in there and mix everything up real good. Roll up up some meat balls and place them on a cookie sheet. Drizzle with a little EVOO or veggie oil and pop them in for 15-18 minutes.
Get a pot of salted water going for your pasta. Once it boils, add the pasta and cook to al dente, roughly 6-8 minutes. Before draining the pasta, reserve 1 cup of the starchy pasta liquid.
Meanwhile in a Dutch oven, heat up some veggie oil and add the sliced ginger, garlic, and chiles. Once everything starts to sizzle and you start to smell all the flavors, add in the chicken stock along with 2 cups of water and the soy sauce. Stir everything together and then add the broccoli rabe. Bring your soup to a simmer and then add the meatballs, which should just be finishing up in the oven.
When the pasta is done, add the liquid from the pasta pot to your soup, drain the rest of the water, and add the noodles to your soup. Stir in the remaining scallions and parsley, then serve.