Spaghetti & Meatball Soup

A couple of nights a week our family ends up eating in shifts because everyone is going every which way, all at the same time. Having a hearty soup simmering in the slow cooker is an easy way to give them all a warm meal. —Susan Stetzel, Gainesville, New York

Total Time

Prep: 45 min.
Cook: 6-1/4 hours

Makes:8 servings (3 quarts)

Ingredients

  • 1 cup soft bread crumbs
  • 3/4 cup 2% milk
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 pounds bulk mild Italian sausage
  • SOUP:
  • 4 cups beef stock
  • 1 jar (24 ounces) marinara sauce
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • Parmesan rind, optional
  • 8 ounces angel hair pasta, broken into 1-1/2-inch pieces
  • Additional freshly grated Parmesan cheese, optional

Directions

  • Preheat oven to 400°. In a large bowl, mix bread crumbs and milk. Let stand 5 minutes; drain. Stir in eggs, cheese and seasonings. Add sausage; mix lightly but thoroughly. Shape into 1-in. balls. Place meatballs on a greased rack in a 15x10x1-in. baking pan. Bake until cooked through, 12-15 minutes.
  • Transfer meatballs to a 6-qt. slow cooker. Add stock, marinara sauce, water, basil and, if desired, Parmesan rind. Cook, covered, on low 6-8 hours to allow flavors to blend.
  • Discard Parmesan rind. Stir in pasta; cook, covered, on high until pasta is tender, 15-20 minutes longer. If desired, serve with additional cheese.

Editor's Note

To make soft bread crumbs, tear bread into pieces and place in a food processor or blender. Cover and pulse until crumbs form. One slice of bread yields 1/2 to 3/4 cup crumbs.

Nutrition Facts

1-1/2 cups: 394 calories, 26g fat (9g saturated fat), 95mg cholesterol, 1452mg sodium, 23g carbohydrate (9g sugars, 2g fiber), 17g protein.