1 Review

Catalonian Shell Pasta & Meatball Soup Recipe

Receta de Escudella I Carn d’Olla

3 hours, 35 minutes

8 Servings

This famous soup is Catalonia’s main Christmas dish, dating back over 600 years. If you're in Barcelona on December 25th, odds are you'll be enjoying a bowl! Traditionally, this hearty soup features a large meatball, known as the 'pilota,' vegetables and other kinds of meat like chicken, butifarra, morcilla and beef – this version is for smaller meatballs and optional stuffed pasta shells. Nearly everyone in Barcelona eats this satisfying soup on Christmas day. The soup is known to have been around for a very long time; the 14th-century medieval Catalan writer Francesc Eiximenis wrote that Catalans ate it on a daily basis. The galets pasta can also be stuffed with a meatball mixture to make stuffed shells, or served with a light cream sauce and sautéed vegetables. This soup is also known as Escudella de Nadal or Sopa de Galets.



Nutritional Facts

Calories 1234;
Total Fat 47.9 gr (61%);
Saturated Fat 15.4 gr (77%);
Cholesterol 254 mg (85%);
Sodium 1446 mg (63%);
Total Carbohydrates 114.3 gr (42%);
Fiber 16.7 gr (60%);
Sugars 15 gr;
Protein 83.8 gr;
Vitamin D 10%;
Calcium 14%;
Iron 53%;
Potassium 47%;

* Percent Daily Values are based on 2000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your caloric needs.

How To Cook


Place bacon into a large stock pot. Cook over medium heat until the fat is rendered and bacon is just starting to brown. Remove bacon and reserve. Add both types of sausages to the rendered bacon fat in the pot and cook until just browned on all sides, about 7 minutes. Remove sausages and reserve.  

Place the chicken, beef or pork, and the lamb shank in the pot with the bacon drippings and sear on all sides until browned, about 10 minutes. Add the ham bone or hock, and water sufficient to cover the ingredients by two inches, or about 16 cups. Season with a teaspoon of salt, turn the heat to high, and bring to a boil. 

Once it reaches a boil, reduce heat to low and allow to gently simmer uncovered for 1 1/2 hours, skimming foam with a slotted spoon after the first 15 minutes. Wash potatoes, carrots, parsnips, leeks, cabbage and celery stalks. Slice leek and cut other vegetables in large pieces and set aside. 


After 30 minutes of simmering, add the chickpeas to the pot. While meats and chickpeas are cooking, prepare meat mixture for meatballs and/or filling pasta shells. 

In a large mixing bowl, soak breadcrumbs in milk for 5 minutes. Add egg, salt and pepper, garlic, chopped parsley, ground beef and ground pork. Using your hands mix well until combined. Divide the mixture into two parts - one for meatballs and one to fill pasta shells. Make 1 inch meatballs with half of the mixture. If you do not wish to pipe the pasta shells with the remaining mixture, make the additional mixture into meatballs. 


After meats and chickpeas have cooked for 1 1/2 hours, add meatballs, sausages and vegetables to the pot and continue cooking on medium for 30 minutes. 


Using a pastry bag, pipe the remaining meat mixture into the uncooked pasta shells. 


Thirty minutes after adding the items in Step 3 to the pot, turn off the heat and strain the broth into another pot. Keeping the meatballs aside, remove meats, sausages and vegetables to a serving platter, cutting each butifarra in half and the morcillas into quarters. Cover and keep warm. Heat the pot with the broth to a boil and add the stuffed (or unstuffed) pasta shells. Cook about 20 minutes or until meat is cooked through and shells are tender but firm. Add the meatballs to the broth with the pasta. Season with salt and pepper to taste and warm through. 


Serve the broth, meatballs and pasta shells in individual servings bowls. Serve the sausages, meats, potatoes and vegetables on a platter for sharing.  

Serve with warm crusty breadorrolls

Ratings and Reviews


1 Reviews

Tastes like Spanish Christmas!

December 2016