Brothy Meatballs with Peas and Pasta

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Dinner, Main Course American
By Adapted from Alison Roman Serves: 4
Prep Time: 20 Minutes Cooking Time: ~20 Minutes Total Time: ~40 Minutes

Brothy Meatballs with Peas and Pasta is light, but richly flavored; fresh snap peas add color and texture while a fennel and herb slaw brings the zing!


  • Meatballs
  • 1 Small Onion, finely chopped
  • 1 cup Finely Chopped Parsley
  • 3/4 cup Plain Whole-Milk Greek Yogurt
  • 1 tbsp. Fennel Seeds
  • 2 tsp. Kosher Salt
  • 1 tsp. Freshly Ground Black Pepper
  • 1 Large Egg, beaten
  • 2 lb. Ground Pork or Lamb (or combination of both)
  • Brothy Meatballs with Peas and Pasta
  • 2 tbsp. (or more) Olive Oil, plus more for drizzling
  • 3 Large Shallots, thinly sliced
  • 4 Garlic Cloves, thinly sliced
  • 2 Small/Medium Fennel Bulbs, halved, cored, very thinly sliced lengthwise, divided (one for soup and one for slaw)
  • Kosher Salt
  • Fresh Ground Pepper
  • 4 cups Low-Sodium Chicken or Vegetable Broth
  • 3 tbsp. White Wine Vinegar, divided
  • 1/2 cup Torn Dill
  • 1/2 cup Parsley Leaves with tender stems
  • 8 oz. Sugar Snap Peas, thinly sliced on a diagonal (about 2 cups)
  • 2 cups Shelled Fresh (or frozen) English Peas
  • 3 cups Cooked Orzo or Israeli Couscous, Farro, Freekeh, cooked and drained according to package directions
  • Flaky Finishing Salt




In a large bowl, use your hands to mix the meatball ingredients until everything is well combined into a cohesive mixture. Be sure not to over-mix the meat mixture. Line a sheet tray with parchment to catch the portioned and formed meatballs. Then use a 1.5 to 2 tablespoon cookie scoop to portion the meatballs. You can then form the portioned meat into nice round balls with your hands. Be careful not to pack them too tightly into spheres. You should get about 20 meatballs.


Heat 2 tablespoons of grapeseed or vegetable oil in a Dutch oven or large pot over medium-high heat. Carefully add the meatballs, one at a time, to the heated oil. I was able to fit 12 meatballs in my Dutch oven. We want to be sure there is enough space around meatball to easily turn them with tongs, so don't overcrowd the pot.


You can batch brown the 20 meatballs in batches of 10, or save and freeze the meatballs that don't fit in the first round for another use.


Brown the meatballs in the hot oil, turning every few minutes to evenly brown all sides. Browning on all sides should take about 8 minutes or so. Then transfer the browned meatballs to a clean sheet tray.

Brothy Meatballs with Peas and Pasta


Add the thinly sliced fennel bulb, the sliced shallots, and sliced garlic to the pot. Season the veggies with Kosher Salt and pepper.


Sauté the veggies and aromatics, scraping up the browned bits from the meatballs, until the fennel is softened and is slightly browning, about 10-12 minutes. Lower the heat as needed to keep the fennel and aromatics from browning too quickly.


Add 4 cups of vegetable or chicken broth and two tablespoons of white wine vinegar, stir and bring to a low simmer. Add the meatballs back to the pot and let simmer for about 8 minutes.


Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, toss together the second sliced fennel bulb, dill and parsley with two tablespoons of white wine vinegar. Season with kosher salt and pepper and set aside.


After the meatballs have simmered with the broth for about 8 minutes, Add the shelled peas and sliced snap peas to the soup. Give it a good stir and let it simmer for about 1 minute. We only want the peas to lose their raw edge, but retain their snap.


Cut the heat and we're ready to serve. Scoop a serving of your cooked and drained pasta or grain into each bowl.


Then ladle the meatballs and broth over the pasta. Top with some of the fennel and herb slaw. Finish off each bowl with a little flaky finishing salt and cracked black pepper.