Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Tortellini and Meatball Soup Rolled with Alouatta and Dads

(picture by J-Fur)

The little guy on the left has some sort of liver ailment which requires medicine each morning. I take one of his pills from the container, push it into a meat pocket and roll it while announcing in a bad Italian accent "Who ordered the meatball? The meatball?" By this point the little beast has rushed over and is bouncing around with his arms waving making it clear who the intended target of the meatball is.

It was during one of these morning interactions that I started thinking about tortellini and meatball soup. I like tortellini. I like vegetarian meatballs. Why not? It took a couple tries but it finally came to be that I was the one ordering the meatball.

Tortellini and Meatball Soup (adapted from Rachel Ray)

For the meatballs:
-1 cup pecans
-25 saltine crackers
-20 basil leaves
-zest of 1 lemon
-2 ounces Parmesan
-1 garlic clove
-2 eggs
-olive oil

For the soup:
-1 onion, diced
-2 cloves of garlic
-1 tsp. red pepper flakes
-1 bay leaf
-2 Tbs. tomato paste
-salt and pepper (to taste)
-2 quarts veggie broth
-18 ounces tortellini
-1/2 cup spinach

1. Mix the pecans, saltines, basil, lemon zest and Parmesan in a food processor. Process until the pecans and crackers have been ground into a powder. Remove from the processor bowl and place in a metal bowl. Add the garlic clove and egg and stir until everything is well mixed.

2. Heat olive oil in a cast iron skillet. Form the pecan mixture into small balls and place in the skillet. Fry balls, on each side, until browned (about 3-5 minutes). Set aside.

3. Meanwhile, heat onions, garlic, crushed red pepper, bay leaf, tomato paste, salt and pepper in a stock pot. Cook over medium heat for 3-4 minutes. Add the veggie broth and bring to a boil. Once stock is boiling, place the tortellini and meatballs in it. Cook until the tortellini is done. With two minutes remaining, add the spinach. Divide the soup into dishes, top with additional pepper flakes and Parmesan. Eat the meatball...soup.

Few band names are as appropriate as Sweden's Alouatta. Evoking ideas of howler monkeys, this punk outfit can whale with the best of them. Their message in "DIY" is one that all aspiring cooks, artists, DJ's, etc. needs to hear. You can do it yourself (and you should, its better that way). Nothing unique here but it feels good just the same.

Dads aka Tom Iansek (half of Australian indie outfit Big Scary) creates layered indie pop music through the use of vocal harmonies and instruments as diverse glockenspiels and mandolins. Sure you'll find your typical bass, guitar and drums but they are arranged in atypical fashion. What comes out of this is music that is full and rich and beautiful to listen to. "Sister" is from Dads debut album Man of Leisure.