Mini Meatballs and Alphabet Noodles

Laziness impelled me to do everything possible in the food processor, but you can easily mince the veggies by hand. Used crushed canned tomatoes or whirl them in a blender though, as the consistency of the sauce should be pretty smooth.

Mini Meatballs and Alphabet Noodles
Servings: 6 Prep 15 mins Cook 50 mins Start to Finish 1 hr 5 mins


  • 2 carrots, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 1 medium onion, peeled and quartered
  • 1 celery stalk, roughly chopped
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • Salt
  • 1 28 ounce can peeled plum tomatoes
  • 1 quart chicken stock
  • 1 parmesan rind
  • 1/3 cup dried breadcrumbs
  • 1 1/2 ounces parmesan cheese
  • 2 tablespoons parsley
  • 1 large garlic clove, peeled
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1 egg
  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 1/2 cup alphabet or other small pasta shapes

Make It

1. In a food processor, pulse the carrot, onion and celery until minced.

2. In a large, heavy pot over medium-low heat, melt the butter. Add the minced vegetables and a large pinch of salt and saute, without browning, until the vegetables are soft, 10 minutes.

3. Puree the tomatoes in the food processor. Add the tomatoes, stock and parmesan rind to the pot and simmer, partially covered, for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

4. Meanwhile, wipe out the food processor, then add to it the breadcrumbs, parmesan, parsley, garlic, 1 teaspoon salt, and a generous grinding of pepper and grating of nutmeg. Pulse until the parsley and garlic are finely chopped. Add the egg and beef and pulse until the mixture is well combined.

5. Form 3/4-inch meatballs. Add the meatballs and alphabet pasta to the pot and simmer, partially covered, for 20 minutes, stirring frequently. Serve hot.


  • Find out more about this recipe on Mom Appetit's blog.