Italian Wedding Soup

It’s time to up the ante on chicken noodle soup, and this Italian Wedding Soup will do it.  Homemade chicken meatballs (seasoned with Pecorino Romano and Parmesan cheeses)  bob among carrots, celery, dill, spinach, and pasta in a rich chicken broth.  Don’t be intimidated by the homemade meatballs- they’re easy to make, and if you can make cookies, you can make meatballs.Italian Wedding Soup- Ina Garten

Italian Wedding Soup

(from Ina Garten’s Barefoot Contessa Back to Basics)
Makes 6-8 servings

Ingredients

Meatballs

3/4 pound ground chicken [Ground chicken thighs make juicier meatballs than ground chicken breast.]
1/2 pound chicken sausage, casings removed [Trader Joe’s has a good selection of chicken sausage.  I used spicy Italian chicken sausage because I like it when things have a little kick to them.]
2/3 cup fresh white bread crumbs
2 teaspoons minced garlic (2 cloves)
3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
1/4 cup freshly grated Pecorino Romano cheese
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, plus extra for serving
3 tablespoons milk
1 extra-large egg, lightly beaten
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Soup

2 tablespoons good olive oil
1 cup minced yellow onion
1 cup 1/4-inch diced carrots (3 carrots)
3/4 cup (1/4-inch diced celery (2 stalks)
10 cups homemade chicken stock [I don’t have the time or patience to make homemade chicken stock. I love Penzey’s Chicken Soup Base and always use it when I need chicken stock.  I refer to it as “liquid gold”.]
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 cup small pasta such as tubetini or stars [I had neither in my pantry, so I used elbow macaroni.]
1/4 cup minced fresh dill
12 ounces baby spinach, washed and trimmed

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350°F.

Meatballs

  1. Place the ground chicken, sausage, bread crumbs, garlic, parsley, Pecorino, Parmesan, milk, egg, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper in a bowl, and combine gently with a fork.
  2. With a teaspoon, drop 1- to 1 1/4-inch meatballs onto a sheet pan lined with parchment paper. (You should have about 40 meatballs. They don’t have to be perfectly round.)
  3. Bake for 30 minutes, until cooked through and lightly browned. Set aside.

Soup

  1. While the meatballs are baking, heat the olive oil over medium-low heat in a large heavy-bottomed soup pot.
  2. Add the onion, carrots, and celery, and sauté until softened, 5 to 6 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  3. Add the chicken stock and wine, and bring to a boil.
  4. Add the pasta to the simmering broth, and cook for 6 to 8 minutes, until the pasta is tender.
  5. Add the fresh dill and then the meatballs to the soup, and simmer for 1 minute. Taste for salt and pepper.
  6. Stir in the fresh spinach, and cook for 1 minute until the spinach is just wilted.
  7. Ladle into soup bowls, and sprinkle each serving with extra grated Parmesan cheese.

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