Sunday, January 29, 2012

Keep Warm & Cozy With My Mom's "Ricotta Ball Soup" Recipe

Last weekend it was cold and snowy here on Long Island. We didn’t get to much snow, but it was definitely cold. We really have had a balmy winter so far, so we can't really complain. As the end of January comes to a close, let’s get cozy and have a bowl of delicious warm soup. Did you know that January is “National Soup Month“? Make sure you have a bowl of soup before January is a memory.

Soup is usually warm and it is homemade by combining ingredients such as meat, with vegetables, stock, and water. The flavors are extracted and this then forms a broth. Traditionally, soups are classified into two main groups; clear soups and thick soups. Broth is made from cooking vegetables, meat or fish in water. This is also called bouillon. Consommé, is a clear meat or fish broth, served hot or cold. It is often used as a base for other dishes and soups. Then there are stews, which is a thick soup-like broth containing meat and vegetables. Soups have generally more liquid than stews. Bisques are made from pureed shellfish or vegetables and cream is added to make it thicker. Stock, is a liquid that is strained after cooking vegetables, meat, or fish, and other seasonings in water.

In 1897, a chemist named Dr. John T. Dorrance, with the Campbell Soup Company, invented condensed soup. Condensing, allows the soup to be packaged into a smaller can and sold at a lower price than other canned soups. This soup usually doubles in volume by adding a “can full” of water or milk. Today Campbell’s Tomato, Cream of Mushroom, and Chicken Noodle are the three most popular canned soups in America. Canned Italian style soups, such as Minestrone or Italian Wedding Soup, are also among the most popular. Canned soup has added a convenience to today’s way of preparing an easy warm soup for your family. Microwaveable bowls have expanded the ready-to-eat canned soup market, by offering an easy way to have a flavorful lunch especially in the workplace.

January 1968 
From left standing, myself, my mom & dad,
 my brother Chris & my grandmother Julia
Memories of enjoying a warm bowl or cup of soup was like a big hug of comfort food on a day of rain, snow or just being cold. In my Italian family my mom would always make some form of soup or stew for our dinner, whether it was homemade chicken soup when we were sick or a cup of soup after we were out in the snow, building snowmen. There is nothing like that warm aroma of steaming soup to melt all your troubles away. One of my favorite soups that my mother made when I was young and still does today is called Ricotta Balls Soup. When any of my family members hear that she is making this, our mouths water and it brings back memories of when I was young, living at home. It is really a feeling of warmth, family, plus food, which of course brings much love. So I would love to share this recipe with you, my readers. Once you have had this soup, you will be hooked and want to make this creamy, yummy, Ricotta Balls recipe over and over again. Enjoy!!  

My mom's Ricotta Ball Soup
 "Ricotta Balls Soup"


2 lbs of Ricotta Cheese (Polly-O)
4 cloves of peeled whole garlic
Fresh cut parsley / a handful
1 cup of bread crumbs (unflavored)
3/4 cup of fresh Pecorino Romano grated cheese
2 eggs
Salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup of vegetable oil
3 to 4 quarts of water


Put water in a wide but not deep pot. (Dutch Oven) After water is boiled put in 4 cloves of peeled garlic. Add about 1/4 cup of oil to water. Then add fresh parsley and about 1/4 teaspoon of salt. Lower water to a simmer; meanwhile prepare the Ricotta Balls mixture.

Mix together in a large bowl, ricotta, eggs, grated cheese, salt, pepper, and the bread crumbs. After combined, roll the mixture into small balls, (like meatball shape) make sure they are small, they will expand when cooked. (Like golf ball size) Once they are shaped into balls, place carefully in simmering water to cook. Cook them for about 20-30 minutes. Turn them very carefully in the pot as they will break apart. They tend to puff so do not overcrowd them. The water which becomes the soup, turns a little creamy from the cheese of the ricotta balls, and has the flavor as well. This recipe makes about 30-35 balls depending on how big you make them.

Till Next Time…………

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