When the weather gets chilly, I love coming home to my apartment, lighting the fireplace and warming up some leftover soup. This recipe is one of my favorites and I make it by the vat. If you are going to freeze the leftovers, cook the pasta separately and do not add it to the pot of soup until you’re ready to serve.
Technique tip: This recipe is heavy on the pasta. If you’re into a more brothy soup, reduce the pasta to 1/2 pound.
Make the mini meatballs:
Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and mix until fully combined. Roll the meat into spheres the size of a gum ball and set aside.
Make the soup:
In a large stockpot or Dutch oven, warm the olive oil over medium-high heat.
Add the carrots, celery, onion and a generous pinch of salt and saute until they begin to caramelize, stirring often, about 15 to 20 minutes.
Add the garlic and saute for an additional 2 minutes until fragrant.
Add the red pepper flakes and tomato paste; stir until the paste is fully incorporated, about 1 minute more.
Add the stock, thyme and a pinch of salt, then bring soup to a boil.
Add the meatballs and cheese rind (if using), reduce to a simmer and cook for 1 hour.
Add the pasta and kale and cook until the pasta is al dente and the kale is wilted.
Season with salt, to taste.
Serve immediately and top with grated pecorino cheese.