Sunday, April 19, 2009

Italian Wedding Soup ~ Barefoot Contessa's

We really like this one ~ very satisfying, yet not too filling. In a word? Delicious!

Italian Wedding Soup
Adapted from : "Barefoot Contessa Back to Basics"
8 servings

Note: I have substituted ground turkey, and turkey sausage in this recipe with great success. I use orzo pasta.

To make 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, and more for serving
3 tablespoons milk
1 extra-large egg, lightly beaten
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the Soup:

2 tablespoons 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 (I use orzo, but any tiny pasta will do)
1/4 cup minced fresh dill
12 ounces baby spinach, washed and trimmed


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
To make 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 or small portion scoop, drop 1 to 1 1/4-inch meatballs onto a sheet pan lined with parchment paper. (Makes about 40 meatballs.) No need to strive or perfection, they needn't be perfectly round. Bake for 30 minutes, until cooked through and lightly browned. Set aside.

While meatballs ar baking, prepare the soup broth: heat the olive oil over medium-low heat in a large pot. Add the onion, carrots, and celery and saute until softened, about 5 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, and add salt and pepper if needed; I always add a big squeeze of fresh lemon juice to heighten the flavors.

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. Really good with garlic bread!