Just because it's spring doesn't mean we will always have the best weather. It's always a mixed bag of beautiful sunny days, cold, damp rain, or a good heavy dumping of snow. I'm glad that what we have dealt with for the last two days was just cold and windy versus a heavy dumping of snow. I think we're past that - but I suppose Mother Nature is not to be tested!
I think this soup was absolutely perfect for a cold, windy day - it was hearty and just right for taking the chill out of the ole' bones.
A couple of thoughts swirling around my head - I used a whole box of pasta rather than just 1 cup. There was so much left over - a great thing for our family since we rarely have enough to actually make it to a second day. But I noticed there wasn't much broth left over to accomodate another day's worth of soup. Being that it was pasta, meatballs and spinach leftover and not much broth - I thought it would be delicious to make a creamy, gooey cheese sauce to mix it in for leftovers, then bake it similar to a mac n cheese dish. Sound yummy? Unfortunately, I'm a bit of a wimp in cold weather, and I never made it to the store to pick up what I needed to create this. So, I just added more chicken stock and we had soup again. No complaints - it was still delish. SO, there you have it. If you're feeling adventurous, you should try it and report back to me!
Italian Wedding Soup
Original Recipe by Ina Garten "Back to Basics" cookbook, pg. 72-73
FOR THE MEATBALLS:
3/4 lb. ground chicken
1/2 lb. chicken sausage, casings removed
2/3 C fresh white bread crumbs
2 tsp. minced garlic (2 cloves)
3 T chopped fresh parsley
1/4 C freshly grated Pecorino Romano cheese
1/4 C freshly grated Parmesan cheese, plus extra for serving
3 T milk
1 extra large egg, lighly beaten
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
FOR THE SOUP:
2 T good olive oil
1 C minced yellow onion
1 C 1/4" diced carrots (3 carrots)
1 C 1/4" diced celery (2 stalks)
10 C Chicken Stock (Ina calls for homemade chicken stock)
1/2 C dry white wine
1 C small pasta such as tubetini or stars
1/4 C minced fresh dill
12 oz. baby spinach, washed and trimmed
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
For the meatballs, place the ground chicken, sausage, bread crumbs, garlic, parsley, Pecorino, Parmesan, milk, egg, 1 tsp. salt and 1/2 tsp. pepper in a bowl and combine gently with a fork. With a teaspoon, drop 1 - 1 1/2" meatballs onto a sheet pan lined with parchment paper (you should have about 40 meatballs. They don't have to be perfectly round.) Bake for 30 minutes, until cooked through and lightly browned. Set aside.
In the meantime, for the soup, heat the olive oil over medium-low heat in a large, heavy bottomed soup pot. Add the onion, carrots, and celery and saute until softened, 5-6 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the chicken stock and wine and bring to a boil. Add the pasta to the simmering broth and cook for 6-8 minutes, until the pasta is tender. Add the fresh dill and then the meatballs to the soup and simmer for 1 minute. Taste for salt and pepper. Stir in the fresh spinach and cook for 1 minute, until spinach is just wilted. Ladle into soup bowls and sprinkle each serving with extra grated Parmesan cheese.
I used a fork to mix together all the meatball ingredients, and also a small ice cream scoop to form the meatballs and transfer to the pan - I didn't even get my hands dirty!! BONUS!
Soup in a pot!
The End Result: a soup with so much oomph - it will have you wanting more.
Please click here for a printable version of this recipe - Kitchen Groovy
Enjoy and live with gusto!