I know I have mentioned, on many an occasion, that I have a love of all things soup. It borders on an obsession really! If you can give me a lovely liquid to slurp up with some crusty bread I am in heaven. Meat, no meat, I don't care. There is something calming and comforting about a nice warm bowl of soup (and I am not leaving out its brothers stew, chowder, or chili). I don't quite know why I feel this way but I know I don't stand alone on this one. Soup lovers of the world UNITE!!
For years now I have had one canned soup that I still crave. Well it isn't really canned, it comes in those microwavable bowls, but it is premade and I love it. Healthy Choices Italian Wedding soup. When I was working it was my lunch of choice at least 2 or 3 out of a 5 day week. Yet I never tried to make it at home? Why you ask? Hmmmm good question! Maybe I was afraid it wouldn't be as good, maybe it was just laziness. I mean I actually LIKED this premade soup so it was pretty easy to just have Chef Mike run the show.
Now that I have been venturing into making some healthier recipes I decide I need to give this one a shot. I mean lets face it, a lot, and I mean a LOT of the soups that are "comforting" are creamy and thick and probably NOT the healthiest they could be. I knew this one would be different.
So I gathered about 4 different recipes and started forming my plan of attack. Picking and choosing the things I liked from each one to try and make the best soup possible. WOW I was hoping it would be good but I had no idea how good it would be!! I made a comment on my Facebook page "Italian Wedding Soup is heaven in a bowl" WHO KNEW? I made about 35 meatballs and a lot of broth and 3 people were able to woof it all down and want more. Well Kevin hid some in a Tupperware container for his lunch the next day, but STILL. All you heard was slurp slurp "WOW" slurp slurp "OhEmmGee this is good" slurp slurp "Is there any more"??
I honestly can't wait to make it again!
Italian Wedding Soup
For the meatballs:
- 1 pound ground chicken
- 1 pound chicken or turkey sausage, casings removed
- 2 cups fresh white bread crumbs
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley leaves
- 1/2 cup freshly grated Pecorino Romano
- 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan, plus extra for serving
- 3 tablespoons milk
- 2 eggs, lightly beaten
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
For the soup:
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 onion, minced
- 1 cup diced carrots (3 carrots), diced
- 3/4 cup diced celery (2 or 3 stalks), diced
- 10 cups chicken stock
- 1/2 cup dry white wine
- 2 cups orzo
- 1/4 cup minced fresh dill
- 12 ounces baby spinach, washed
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. With a spoon, drop 1 to 1 1/4-inch meatballs onto a sheet pan lined with parchment paper. (You should have about 35 to 40 meatballs. They don't have to be perfectly round.) Bake for 30 to 40 minutes, until cooked through and lightly browned. Cover with foil and reserve
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, 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the chicken stock and wine and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and allow to simmer for about 10 minutes, depending on how tender you want your vegetables. 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.