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Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Meatball Rotini Soup

When you thingk of "fusion cooking", do you associate it with hoity-toity fanciness and world-class arrogance? Difficult to make? It can be all of that or none, depending on the person doing the cooking. Personally, I associate "fusion cooking" with simply mixing ingredients that are popular in different cultures. This can be as simple as using Chinese or Japanese mushrooms instead of regular white mushrooms, adding a dash of curry powder to a soup, or replacing Oriental pasta with Italian pasta in an Oriental soup. And that's just what I've done for this Meatball Rotini Soup. I love meatballs and I try coming up with new dishes with them. This Meatball Rotini Soup is simply a variation on other soups that I've tried.

[NOTE: In this recipe and others, I do not distinguish between parsley and cilantro as I like them both. However, I know people who like one but not the other. So I'll let you decide which one you want to use.]

Ingredients
  • Water for the meatballs, pasta, and final soup
  • 1-2 tbsp sesame oil
  • 1 tsp salt for soup
  • 1/2 lb ground chicken, turkey or pork, fresh or thawed from frozen. If you can, use "free-range" meats. They are hormone-free, taste great, and don't have all manner of additives.
  • 1/4 cup parsley/cilantro, chopped fine (or 1 tsp dried)
  • 2 stalks chives, chopped fine (or dried) [optional]
  • 1/2 cup breadcrumbs
  • Salt + pepper to taste for meatballs
  • 1 whole egg
  • 1 cup of dry rotini noodles
  • 1 can or 1/2 cup of chicken stock.
  • 1/2 can of shiitake mushrooms, sliced thinly
  • 1 tbsp of white cooking vinegar [optional]
  • Chinese crunchy egg noodles [optional]
  • 2-3 stalks green onion, chopped finely [optional]
  • 1/4 cup parsley/cilantro, chopped roughly for garnish [optional]

Preparation
  • Put 4-6 cups of water for soup in a cookpot and set heat on high. When water starts to steam, add 1 tsp salt and 1-2 tbsp of sesame oil. Work on other ingredients until water is boiling.
  • In a large mixing bowl, add ground meat, parsley, chives, breadcrumbs and salt + pepper. Break in the egg and mix the ingredients to distribute them evenly. Form meatballs to a preferred to size (1-1 1/2" diameter) and set aside on a plate or an oven tray (cookie sheet).
  • When water is boiling, add meatballs and poach for 6-8 minutes.
  • Remove the meatballs to a bowl with a slotted spoon but reserve the water. Keeping the cookpot on high heat, add enough water for boiling the rotini pasta. (Use the instructions on the package, or guess, if you've made Italian pasta before.)
  • When the water is once again boiling, add 1-2 tbsp of cooking oil (vegetable, canola, sunflower, sesame), several dashes of salt, and the rotini noodles. Cook for at least 6-7 minutes. Make sure that the pasta is not quite al dente, as it will be fully cooked in the soup base in the next step. [Most Italian pasta needs about 12 minutes, but we are cooking the rotini in two steps.]
  • Strain the pasta of its boiling water, reserving a 1/2 cup of the liquid. Dump out the rest of the liquid from the cookpot (it'll be too starchy). Rinse the cookpot, replace it on the stove. Add the chicken stock, making sure to strain off any fat if you use canned stock. Now add the 1/2 cup of the reserved liquid, another 3 cups of water, the pasta, meatballs, and sliced shiitakes. Set heat at medium high, and let simmer for 10 minutes.
  • Add the 1 tbsp of white cooking vinegar and simmer for another 2-5 minutes, or until pasta is al dente.
  • Turn off heat and serve immediately.

Presentation
Serve soup in large bowls and garnish individually with any or all of the following: Chinese crunchy egg noodles, green onions, or chopped parsley/cilantro. Serve with bruschetta or garlic bread. Serves 4-6.

(c) Copyright 2005, Raj Kumar Dash, http://curryelviscooks.blogspot.com


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  • I'm blogslinger
  • From Canada
  • Writer, author, former magazine editor and publisher, amateur photog, amateur composer, online writer/ blogger, online publisher, freelancer


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