Italian Wedding Soup

I love making soup and when it’s cold out, I usually make a big pot each week.  Chicken soup is always a go-to for me but I’ve challenged myself to make a new soup each week to expand my recipe list.  This week my daughter Grace asked for Italian Wedding Soup which is a clear broth with veggies, pasta and little meatballs.  (I think it was the meatballs that caught her attention).  The meatballs cook in the oven while the soup comes together and everything was ready in about an hour.  It was a great, hearty lunch on a cold Monday!

I usually have homemade stock in the freezer but if I use store bought stock (Swanson’s low sodium is my favorite) I always add either one packet of Knorr’s Stock Base or some Knorr’s Bouillon powder.  Normally Italian Wedding Soup calls for spinach but I had only kale on hand so that’s what I used.  Since kale can be tough (but still delicious) I cooked it with the other veggies to soften it up before adding it to the soup.  If I had a zucchini on hand, I would have added that, too.  Any small pasta will do and I used small bow ties which I find are great for soups.  A little sprinkle of cheese on top and red pepper flakes (for me) and you are good to go.

Give it a try!

Ingredients

Meatballs

½ lb.             Ground pork

½ lb.             Ground beef (I used 85/15)

¼ c               Grated parmesan

¼ c               Bread crumbs

1                   Egg (lightly beaten)

½ tsp            Seasoned salt

Soup

½ c              Diced onion (I always use a sweet onion like Vidalia)

1 c                Diced carrots

1 c                Diced celery

2 tbs            Olive oil

8 c                Chicken stock (see my recipe for homemade; see note above)

1 tbs            Chicken bouillon powder (see note above)

½ c               Dry white wine (I used Pinot Grigio)

1 c                Small pasta (I used small bow ties)

6 oz              Chopped kale (remove the hard stalk in the middle of each leaf) or spinach

                     Salt and pepper to taste

Directions

Preheat your oven to 350.

In a large bowl, combine all the meatball ingredients and gently mix until everything is incorporated.  I find the best way to roll a meatball is with my hands so dampen your hands with water so the mixture doesnt stick and roll about a teaspoon sized portion into a ball.  Place on a baking sheet (I always line mine with parchment paper to avoid food sticking) and cook the meatballs at 350 for about 30 minutes or until done.  Remove the meatballs from the tray and set aside on a plate.

While the meatballs cook, sauté the onions, carrots, celery and kale on medium heat in the olive oil till almost tender which will take about 10 minutes.  (If you are using spinach instead of kale you can add it when you add the pasta.  I cook the kale first since it can be tough and cooking it first help soften it). 

Add the white wine and cook for one minute and then add the stock (and bouillon powder if store bought).  Cook for one minute until combined and the soup comes to a simmer.  Add the pasta to the soup and cook till tender, about six minutes.  Add the meatballs and simmer for another minute or two. 

Serve with some grated parmesan on top.

Enjoy!  

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