Relive your childhood memories with this Mexican version of mini meatballs with pasta (pasta con albondigas). Kid friendly!
Growing up in a traditional Mexican household, albóndigas (meatballs) en caldillo or in salsa were a regular on the dinner table. On the rare occasion, my mom would purchase some easy meals for us, like pasta and meatballs in a can. You know that famous brand with the Italian chef on the label? We loved it as kids! But, thanks to my mom and dad, I love to cook. For this recipe of pasta con albóndigas, I prepared a basic sopa (Mexican pasta) recipe and added mini meatballs.
In a large bowl, combine all of the ingredients for the albóndigas (meatballs) in the order listed. Stir just until combined. Roll 36 mini meatballs, transfer to a sheet pan and cover. Set aside.
Add 2 tablespoons of oil to a large pot and heat to medium. Add the onions, garlic, carrots and celery. Season lightly with salt and pepper and saute for 6-8 minutes.
Transfer the whole tomatoes to the blender. Blend on high until smooth. Add blended tomato to the pot. Season as you go and add a pinch of salt and pepper. Simmer for 5-6 minutes.
To the pot, add the broth, bay leaves and bouillon powder. When it comes to a boil, taste for salt and pepper. Carefully add in the albóndigas, spreading them out evenly. Cook at a steady simmer for 20-25 minutes. Add the pasta, stir gently and cook for another 10 minutes or until pasta has cooked through. If it gets too thick, add a little more chicken broth. Garnish with cilantro, fresh or dried parsley and shredded cheese.
To add a little more flavor to the pasta, I like to toast it in a little oil before adding it to my sopa or soup recipes.