In a Dutch oven or a large, heavy bottomed saucepan, heat olive oil and butter. Sauté the diced onion until it is translucent and soft. Add the minced garlic to the onion and cook 30 seconds more.
Add chicken broth, meatballs (we add them into the soup raw, without browning them. If you prefer to brown them, you can, but it's not necessary. Allowing them to cook into the soup adds some nice flavor!), crushed tomatoes, sugar water, basil, Italian seasoning, salt, black pepper, bay leaves, oregano and red pepper flakes. Stir and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to simmer and cook 30 minutes.
Add the dried pasta. Simmer, and stir occasionally, until the pasta is cooked to Al denté (still a little firm) 10 minutes.
Remove bay leaves.
Add 1/3rd grated Parmesan cheese and stir. Cook over low heat until cheese has melted and soup has thickened.
Preheat oven to broil.
Place bowls, evenly spaced, on a rimmed baking sheet. Ladle soup into oven-proof bowls, and top with ¼ cup shredded cheese. Broil until cheese is bubbly and melted. **Watch closely!
Remove from the oven and garnish with chopped fresh basil and serve.