Hold on, don’t get your aprons in a wad when reading the title. This soup will not cause a break in your holy vows, but rather this is my game plan for this well-known soup.
While battling wretched sinus stuff, I decided I needed a little chicken soup to soothe and comfort, so I turned to my culinary nurse, Ina Garten, (and secret love – ah, hell, it’s no secret) for some ideas. Low and behold, something caught my eye – Italian Wedding Soup made with chicken meatballs. I was feeling better already.
After making this rather easy soup, I realized that the actual soup part was okay; what stood out was the chicken meatballs. These tasty balls of culinary goodness were the absolute star of the dish. I had to stop Ray and myself from eating all of them to save some for the soup. So today I will provide the recipe for the soup, because it’s worth trying; but at the end I want to split these little jewels up from their soup-based bride and set them free to be a culinary bachelor again.
FYI – Like I said, the soup was okay so I had to add a few more ingredients than Nanny Ina to boost the flavor a little.
Italian Wedding Soup
For the meatballs:
3/4 pound ground chicken
1/2 pound chicken sausage, casings removed
2/3 cup fresh white bread crumbs
2 teaspoons minced garlic (2 cloves)
3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves
1/4 cup freshly grated Pecorino Romano
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan, plus extra for serving
3 tablespoons milk
1 extra-large egg, lightly beaten
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
For the soup:
2 tablespoons good olive oil
1 cup minced yellow onion
1 cup diced carrots (3 carrots), cut into 1/4 inch pieces
3/4 cup diced celery (2 stalks), cut into 1/4 inch pieces
10 cups homemade chicken stock
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 cup small pasta such as tubetini or stars
1/4 cup minced fresh dill
12 ounces baby spinach, washed and trimmed
1 tablespoon Italian seasoning (I added)
2 bay leaves (I added)
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
For the meatballs, 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.
With a teaspoon ( I used a small cookie scoop), 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.)
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 to 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 to 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 the spinach is just wilted. Ladle into soup bowls and sprinkle each serving with extra grated Parmesan.
After the “Soup Divorce” recipes:
Classic Spaghetti and Meatballs – rather than use beef meatballs, add these less fattening chicken meatballs to your spaghetti and marinara
Meatball Sub – My friend Jamie gave me this idea – use the chicken meatballs in a sub sandwich. Place meatballs on a sub roll, cover in marinara, add mozzarella cheese and melt under the broiler.
Chicken Lasagna – Use the chicken meatball mixture as the meat for your next lasagna, then invite me over to eat it!
Ravioli – Cook the meat mixture and use as the stuffing for your ravioli…again, invite me over the eat it.
See, sometimes in life, culinary mommies and daddies don’t get along and must separate. This is a perfect example of one destined to be a bachelor, never to settle down in one recipe. I don’t weep for the loss…I’ll just weep if I don’t get an invite to your house for supper. 😉
A Little Mischief Tip:
As with any post, mischief may prevail. Below is an example of what NOT to do. I was baking my bread to go with my soup and realized it was taking way to long, so I turned on the broiler. I totally forgot that I had lined my pan with parchment paper and as a result had flambé bread.