What do you get when you combine two types of comfort food – pasta, and soup? Well, you get to enjoy a bowl of this delicious Italian Meatball Soup that is sure to warm you through on cold winter nights.
This Italian soup recipe can be made and on the table in under 30 minutes. Serve with a sprinkling of parmesan and some crusty bread for a hearty midweek meal that the whole family will love.
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Italian Meatball Soup
I love making soups in the autumn and winter. They are so comforting and often quick to make too, which means I can usually have dinner on the table in about half an hour or so. Perfect after a busy day at work.
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This meatball soup recipe is from their recipe archives (it’s actually called Italian Polpetti Soup) and tastes so good! I love that they provide weights and measures on their recipe cards which means you can cook your favorites time and time again.
In Italy, meatballs (named polpette [polˈpette], sing. polpetta) are generally eaten as a main course or in a soup. The main ingredients of an Italian meatball are beef and/or pork and sometimes poultry or sausage, salt, black pepper, chopped garlic, olive oil, Romano cheese, eggs, bread crumbs, and parsley, mixed and rolled by hand to a golf ball size. In the Abruzzo region of Italy, especially in the Province of Teramo, the meatballs are typically the size of marbles and are called polpettine [polpetˈtiːne]. – Wiki
Ingredients used in this recipe
The full ingredients list and instructions are found in the printable recipe card at the end of this post, but here is a brief outline so you know what to expect from the recipe. I highly recommend always reading a recipe all the way through before starting.
- Fresh Vegetables – celery, carrot, garlic
- Meat – beef mince/ground beef
- Herbs & Spices – fresh oregano, red chili flakes, Knorr Vegetable Stock Pot
- Canned Goods – chopped tomatoes
- Cheese – fresh parmesan
- Pasta – conchiglioni
Equipment used in this recipe
You are likely to have many of these cooking tools in your kitchen already, but I’ve added some Amazon links for your convenience should you need to purchase anything for this recipe.
And for my American readers, an electric kettle, which I know is not as common in your homes as in the UK!
Being able to boil water for soups helps to reduce the prep time. Of course, you can just bring the pan of water to the boil on the stovetop!
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What is Conchiglioni?
Conchiglioni (or conchiglione) is a large seashell-shaped pasta. The size of the pasta means it is often used in dishes where the pasta is stuffed with meat, vegetables, or cheese. Because of their size, you will only need to serve 3 to 4 per bowl of soup.
If you can’t find this large pasta in the supermarket, you can use the regular size shells – conchiglie; or even the miniature ones – conchigliette. But to be fair, whatever shaped pasta you have in your cupboards will be fine!
I love when recipes can be customised to your personal tastes and this soup is in that category. I’m not saying go ahead and change the recipe first time out, but I just wanted to let you know that it is a dish that you can experiment with!
If you are not a fan of celery (like me) or carrots you could switch them out for other vegetables. I always leave out celery!
The following veggies would work well: peas, green beans, courgette (zucchini), kale, spinach, or cabbage. Cannellini beans or borlotti beans from a can would also be a good switch.
Use the best, tinned tomatoes that you can afford. The base of this soup is tomato, so you want to know that you’ve got a good tomatoey flavor going in there.
Herbs & Spices
Other delicious herbs you could use in your soup are basil, rosemary, or bay leaves. Use them in addition to, or instead of the oregano if you like. If you are not a fan of chili, you can leave out the chili flakes.
If you can’t source the vegetable stock pots used in this recipe, you can, of course, make your own vegetable stock using bouillon or stock cubes.
To switch things up, you could use a mixture of beef and pork in the meatballs instead of just beef to make the meatballs.
Another time-saving trick that I learned from Jamie Oliver is squeezing the sausage meat out of the casings and turning them into quick meatballs. Buy Italian sausages and you’ve got them ready-flavored and hardly any work needed!
The meatballs in this soup are small – around 2.5cm/1in – this means they will cook through quickly. Brown them off first in a frying pan (be careful not to break them) before adding to the soup to finish off the cooking. Make sure they are cooked all the way through before serving.
Make It An Italian Meal!
You’ve made the main dish, but what about the rest of the courses? Here are some recipes to take a look at to make a complete meal!
- Appetizer: Balsamic Mozzarella Stuffed Grape Tomatoes
- Side Salad: Caesar Salad
- Beverage: Prosecco Cocktail with Blackberry, Elderflower & Basil
- Dessert: Tiramisu – With A Twist!
There are 500+ Recipes on The Purple Pumpkin Blog for you to enjoy! Please feel free to check them out too.
More Recipes Using Pasta
If you love pasta, try out one of these yummy pasta recipes:
More Italian Recipes
Once you’ve made this Italian meatball soup you may want to try out some more Italian recipes – here are some for you to take a look at:
- Pasta Fagioli – Slow Cooker Meal Prep
- One-Pan Chicken Cacciatore – Italian Hunter’s Stew
- Italian Roasted Vegetables Recipe
- Olive oil
- 4 garlic cloves, peeled and grated; divided
- 4 celery sticks, cut into small chunks
- 2 carrots, cut into 1cm cubes
- 1.2L/2 pints boiling water (boil in a kettle for speed!)
- 2 Knorr Vegetable Stock Pots
- 2 (400g/14oz) cans chopped tomatoes
- 500g/1lb beef mince (ground beef)
- 1 bunch oregano, finely chopped
- 40g/1½oz parmesan cheese, grated; divided
- ¼ tsp red chili flakes
- Salt & black pepper
- 200g/7oz large conchiglioni
- Heat a drizzle of olive oil in a large saucepan on medium heat.
- Add the garlic, celery and carrot. Cook for 5 minutes. If they start to brown, turn the head down a little.
- Add the boiling water, vegetable stock pot, and canned tomatoes. Stir.
- Bring to the boil, then reduce to a simmer.
- In a large bowl, mix together the beef mince, two-thirds of the oregano, three-quarters of the parmesan, the chili flakes, a pinch of salt and a few grinds of black pepper.
- Roll the meat mixture into small meatballs about 2.5cm/1".
- Add the large conchiglioni pasta shells to the soup. Cook for about 12 minutes until al dente.
- While the soup is cooking, heat a drizzle of olive oil in a frying pan on medium-high heat.
- Add the meatballs (polpetti). Cook for 5-7 minutes until completely browned on the outside. Be careful not to break them.
- Once browned, add the polpetti to the soup for the last 5 minutes of cooking time. The meatballs are cooked when they are no longer pink in the middle.
- If using, slice ciabatta in half and warm in the oven for 5 minutes.
- Serve the soup in bowls and sprinkle with the remaining parmesan and oregano. Enjoy with the warm bread on the side.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 4
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 608 Total Fat: 11g Saturated Fat: 1g Trans Fat: 0g Sodium: 4mg Carbohydrates: 74g Protein: 46g