Recipe from My Italian Grandma

Okay, so I didn’t actually have an Italian Grandma, but when I make this for dinner, I get to feel Italian. It’s comfort food-escarole is sweet and tender this time of year, and the pastina (tiny pasta stars, available at the Italian Grocery on De la Guerra St.) will make you feel young again.

Escarole and Meatball Soup

(serves 6)


1 lb. ground turkey (dark meat) or ground beef
1 Tbs. grated Parmigiano cheese
1 slice white bread or spelt bread, soaked in milk or plain soymilk and squeezed dry, then crumbled or torn into small pieces
1 egg yolk
1 tsp. salt
½ tsp. white pepper
1 Tbs. chopped fresh Italian parsley

Mix all the ingredients in a bowl. Shape the mixture into one-inch meatballs. Refrigerate the meatballs until you are ready to add them to the soup.


8 c. homemade chicken or turkey stock
1 large head escarole, washed and cut into 1-inch pieces
1 small onion, chopped
¾ c. pastina (optional)
2 eggs
tsp. salt
2 Tbs. grated Parmigiano cheese

In a five-quart soup pot over high heat, bring the stock to a boil. Add the onion, reduce to simmer, and cook for three minutes. Add the meatballs, bring back to a boil, then reduce the heat and cook for three minutes more. Return to a boil and add the pastina and escarole, lowering the heat and simmering for about four minutes, until both are cooked through and tender.

While the pastina is simmering, whisk together the eggs, salt, and cheese. After the pastina and escarole are cooked, turn the heat to low and quickly whisk in the egg mixture, which will make egg ribbons on contact. Ladle the soup into bowls and serve it immediately.

Adapted from Little Italy Cookbook by David Ruggerio, Artisan/Workman Publishing Co., N.Y., 1997.

To submit a comment on this article, email or visit our Facebook page. To submit information to a reporter, email

event calendar sponsored by:

Plastic Bags? Throw ‘Em Away

Santa Barbara County makes recycling rules tougher in face of exacting standards.

UCSB Ranked Number Three in UC System

Cal and UCLA took the one and two spots.

Pini Property Fights Continue

As an epic attorney battle continues in the Dario Pini receivership, a tenant is getting fed up.

MTD Takes Stand Against Prop. 6

The bus company is concerned about the state funding it relies upon.

County Half-Jokes It Wants Cannabis ‘World Domination’

A government executive implores growers to get legal before time runs out.