The holidays unfolded with my early abandonment of restraint for every dessert and seasonal snack in sight. No peppermint mocha or sugar cookie was safe around me. I wasn’t shy at Christmas party food tables. I’m not sure where things went sideways, but
I did enjoy it. January came too fast. A hard stop on fun holiday foods isn’t easy. Soup provides the perfect transition back to a normal diet. Its rich flavors feel indulgent without heaviness. Put on your favorite pjs, curl up with a bowl of Meatball Marinara Soup, and you’ve got a jump start on a gentle cruise toward smart eating in the new year.
Meatball Marinara Soup with Mini Mozzarella Toast
(2) 16 ounce packages Italian style frozen mini meatballs
½ cup chopped onion
2 garlic cloves, minced
¼ cup red wine
(2) 28 ounce cans fire roasted crushed red tomatoes
3 teaspoons Italian seasoning
¼ teaspoon salt
6 cups beef broth
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese plus extra for serving (NOT pre-grated; it will not melt)
chopped fresh basil
½ of a French bread loaf cut into 1” cubes
½ stick of butter, melted
½ cup shredded mozzarella cheese
In a Dutch oven, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium heat. Add onion, stirring frequently until translucent. Add garlic, stirring 1 minute. Remove from heat. Slowly add red wine.
Return to medium heat. Add tomatoes, 2 teaspoons of the Italian seasoning, and salt. Simmer 30 minutes.
Add beef broth and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer an additional 30 minutes. During last 20 minutes of simmering, add frozen meatballs.
Stir in the Parmesan and basil. Cover over low heat until ready to serve.
Place bread cubes on a baking sheet. Combine melted butter, 2 tablespoons olive oil and remaining teaspoon of Italian seasoning. Brush onto tops of bread pieces. Set oven to broil, set pan on bottom rack, and broil for 2-3 minutes or until lightly browned.
Remove pan from oven. Sprinkle with mozzarella cheese. Return to oven a minute or two until cheese is melted and bubbly. Separate toast cubes.
Ladle soup into bowls, sprinkle with chopped basil and additional Parmesan cheese. Top with Mini Mozzarella Toast pieces and serve.