In the winter, when it’s cold, all I want is soup or stew. I think it comes from my grandmother but sadly, I have no soup recipes from her. Someday when I have more time (when will that be exactly? I’m not sure!), I’ll experiment and see if I can make her bean soup or her fish chowder. Until then, I’ll keep making my standbys- squash soup and chicken stew and Italian Wedding soup.
I am officially in love with Italian Wedding soup. It has everything. Broth, meatballs, pasta, greens…. It’s a complete meal within a soup in a bowl! Just the thing for a winter’s night. I’ve mentioned this soup several times to the Hippo and she has demanded I post it. Since she was here this weekend, I roped her into helping me make it. It’s easier with two sets of hands (because then at least one set can hold the baby!).
The soup itself is pretty easy- as most soups are- the meatballs are what take time. But they are so worth it. Plus, then you have extra, if you’d like, for things like sandwiches or pasta or just plain snacking. The recipe I’m giving you is a combination of Ina Garten’s and Giada De Laurentiis’. You can find them here.
Italian Wedding Soup
For the Meatballs:
1 lb. ground chicken (I use dark meat)
2 sweet Italian chicken sausages
1/3-2/3 cup plain bread crumbs (I use store bought)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
salt and pepper
For The Soup:
8-10 cups chicken broth (or homemade stock)
1/2 large sweet onion, chopped small
2 ribs celery, chopped small
1/2-3/4 cup carrots, diced
1 cup small pasta (like orzo or stars or tubetini)
12 oz of baby spinach, washed and stems removed (if you have the patience to remove the stems- I don’t always)
Make the meatballs. Combine all ingredients into a bowl. In order to use the sausage, you’ll need to remove the casings (if you can buy the sausage without the casings, more power to you). Do this by sort of squeezing them over the bowl. Try to ignore all the phallic and/or scatological thoughts that might occur during this process. Or alternately, make lots of lewd jokes about it, loudly. The Hippo demonstrates here:
(Now, really, if you can look at that and NOT think lewd thoughts, you’re an angel!) Combine the chicken meat and then add the rest of the ingredients and mix. I use my hands.
Once it’s all mixed, roll out small meatballs (walnut size or so) and place them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake at 350 degrees for about 20-30 minutes or until golden and cooked through. My oven, as I’ve said here many times, cooks unevenly. I end up doing a lot of rotating of sheets in order to get everything cooked at once without burning. Make the soup:
Chop the carrots, onion and celery. Put about two tablespoons of olive oil into a soup pot over medium heat. Add the carrots, celery and onion and cook until soft, about 5-6 minutes. Add the chicken stock/broth and bring to a boil. Add the pasta and cook for 6-8 minutes or until the pasta is cooked. While the pasta is cooking, beat two eggs and two tablespoons of grated parmesan cheese in a small bowl. Set aside.
Egg and Cheese, prior to mixing
Egg and Cheese, Mixed
Once the pasta is cooked, add the meatballs.
Prep the Spinach. Wash it and, if you like, remove the stems. I never do but I can’t tell the difference.
Washed and ready
Add it to the pot. It will look like a lot but it will wilt down to almost nothing. Trust me (and Ina and Giada!).
Making sure that the soup is boiling, add the egg/cheese mixture, stirring while you pour it in- it will make little strands as it cooks- it will be kind of like egg drop soup (which is basically egg and chicken broth- look two recipes for the price of one!). The starch of the pasta may make the soup thick, especially after standing for a bit. You can always add more chicken broth (or even water in a pinch) to thin it out. Season with salt and pepper and serve hot. Yum! Best. Soup. Ever.