Meatball Spaghetti And Onion Soup

Long ago, when at college, there was a time when I was obsessed with caramelised onions and french onion soup. I had just bought an encyclopaedia of vegetables on sale (which was the only way a pauper student could have afforded it) and the pictures of the beautiful onions turning from white to pink to gold to brown tantalised me. Just the technique of cooking onions slowly, lovingly  for about an hour in which they transformed to a beautiful sweet gold seemed so enticing that it became something of a religion with me. Time consuming and a great way to get away from campus life, I escaped into French onion nirvana (I also obsessively made plum jam, chinese fried noodles and caramel pop-corn…all in a mini hostel room in the make believe world of design school). Having made and consumed enough soup while listening to Simon and Garfunkel’s ‘I am a rock’ and mending my constantly broken heart in those fool-hardy days, I never caramalised onions again for the last 10 years.Meatball Spaghetti And Onion Soup

Maybe its the nostalgia trip I have been on lately, or maybe I am just growing up and ready to give up on the ghosts of the past, I felt ready to caramalise onions again. And yet, whats life without change. Without Pasta. Without Meat. So here is my grown up version of times gone by… combining 3 of my favourite things..

One – french onion soup (one never does get over old love affairs after all). Two – pasta (my soul food. If there is anything that can be as satisfying as rice, its pasta). Three – meatballs (minced meat is the new black)  After all a lady deserves the best things in life… and Meatball and Onion Spaghetti Soup.

Meatball Spaghetti And Onion Soup

Meatball Spaghetti And Onion Soup
There is something so amazingly comforting about soup. With the monsoons and the accompanying sniffles, a steaming bowl of thick, delicious soup with pasta is like liquid gold. Reviving, comforting and downright life-giving. But soups can also spell boring, predictable and ..blah. Craving for some warm fuel for the soul but wanting something richer, deeper and more enveloping? Time to put some decadence back in soup again...
  • 250 grams thinly sliced onions
  • 1.5 tablespoons butter
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon table salt, plus additional to taste
  • ¼ teaspoon sugar
  • 1.5 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 5 teaspoon peppercorns
  • 250gm chicken bones
  • 3 liters of water freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 each - carrot, onion,
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1 teaspoon peppercorns
  • 200gms minced meat
  • ½ cups grated cheese (I just used brittania cheddar)
  • 1 tablespoon minced onion
  • ¼ cup bread crumbs
  • 3 cloves minced garlic
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tablespoons chopped parsley
  • 1 tablespoon minced onion
  • 5 tablespoon finely diced red bell peppers
  • 8 tablespoons chopped parsley
  • 10 tablespoons grated cheese
  • 100 gms spaghetti
  • 5 tablespoons tomato puree
  1. For the stock - Add the ingredients from chicken bones to peppercorns and bring to a simmer, uncovered, on medium heat. Do not allow the stock to boil and instead let it reduce on a gentle simmer till almost half (about 1 hour or so) and the flavour of the stock has developed.
  2. Meanwhile, start with the caramelised onions - Melt the 1.5 tablespoon butter and 1 tablespoon oil together in tin a pan over low heat. Add the thinly sliced onions, toss till coated in oil, cover and leave well alone for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, uncover, increase heat to medium, add salt and sugar and stir frequently for 30 to 40 minutes till browned well. Make sure you stir frequently - enough to not burn the onions. Keep at this long enough to caramelise the onions - they will be a rich golden brown. Add the flour and cook, stirring, for another 3 minutes.
  3. Add the stock to the caramelised onions , stirring while you do so. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Bring to a simmer and add the tomato puree. Simmer partially covered for 30 to 40 more minutes. Correct seasonings if needed.
  4. For the meatballs - Mix all the ingredients for the meatballs (minced meat to minced onions) and form into balls the size of tiny lemons. Add to the soup and let cook for 3 minutes. Add the spaghetti and cook till the pasta is al-dente.
  5. To serve - ladle the soup into bowls along with meatballs and some of the pasta. Sprinkle the cheese over the soup, garnish with the bell peppers and parsley.




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