what a pleasant afternoon!!
So there weather might not be perfect for soup, but I love soup and I could eat it any day and everyday of the week. I was craving this particular one so I had to make it for lunch today.
It is an adapted recipe from Ina Garten, so if you want to check out the original make sure you click on the link. She does use some different ingredients but I make it using the express version
ITALIAN WEDDING SOUP
adapted from Barefoot Contessa
For the meatballs:
1 pound ground chicken
2/3 cup fresh white bread crumbs or 2/3 cup breadcrumbs
2 teaspoons minced garlic (2 cloves)
3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves **I do use fresh for this because parsley was so cheap and it brightens up the soup
1/2 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 ***I forgot to buy celery and I didn't miss it***
10 cups homemade chicken stock ***I don't have to make homemade stock there are some great boxed brands of stock that taste great. More flavorful then broth***
1/2 cup dry white wine **I omitted because I would have drank the rest**
splash of balsamic vinegar **adds a great color and layer of flavor**
1 cup small pasta such as achi de pepe or stars
12 ounces baby spinach, washed and trimmed
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
For the meatballs, place the ground chicken, bread crumbs, garlic, parsley, Parmesan, milk, egg, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper in a bowl and combine gently with a fork.
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.) Bake for 30 minutes, until cooked through and lightly browned. Set aside. **I make them bigger and cut them up. I am always afraid they arent cooke enough so I make them a little crispy, they hold up great in the soup leftover.***
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 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. ****I don't add the spinach to the pot. I put the leaves into the bowl before I add the hot soup. When there are so many leftovers I think the spinach gets mushy and I like them more firm****
Ladle into soup bowls and sprinkle each serving with extra grated Parmesan.
I end up chopping up my meatballs with a knife because I don't make them too tiny because I am lazy.
This is by far one of my favorite soup that I make. I loved it in restaurants but never found recipe that I liked, until one fateful foot network marathon. In the original recipe she calls for mixing some chicken sausage in with the ground chicken and this time I used all chicken and I liked it better. I don't really like sausage. I try but I don't and I could eat these meatballs plain now I like them so much better. To note, I did use less chicken then the original recipe called for because technically I should have added another 6 ozs to make up for the lost sausage but I just added all the other ingredients and it came out great. And don't be afraid of the balsamic. It was in another soup recipe I have and it adds this slight tang that I really enjoy. Who would have thought? Oh and I don't ever use fresh bread crumbs because I don't want to have to clean the little food processor. I am not the barefoot contessa with someone else doing the dishes.