Friday, October 21, 2011

Italian Wedding Soup

I've tried a few Barefoot Contessa recipes before and they've all been really excellent. Especially the soups. So when ever I'm in the mood to try a new soup or there is a particular recipe I'm looking for, I like to check the Food Network site. This recipe was really good, although not quite as good as the Lentil Sausage recipe I tried. It's also very healthy and full of excellent veggies. in fact, you don't really taste the insane amount of spinach, so it's a nice way to pack in some great vitamins. The meatballs are also fantastic on their own, so I will definitely make them again to put into a pasta sauce.

Italian Wedding Soup
from the Food Network

For 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, 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
10 cups homemade chicken stock
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 cup small pasta such as tubetini or stars
1/4 cup minced fresh dill
12 ounces baby spinach, washed and trimmed

I started by putting all of the meatball ingredients in a large bowl and mashing them together with a fork.

I then formed the meatballs and placed them on parchment paper to bake. The recipe originally called for a teaspoon scoop, but that was really impractical. You want to have about 40 meatballs, so a tablespoon makes way more sense. I then baked the meatballs for about 25 minutes at 350 degrees. You want the meatballs to be nice and golden brown on the outside but not dry.

Once the meatballs were done (like the picture on the left), set them aside. This step can even be done the day before or earlier in the day.

Once I was ready to make the rest of the soup, I chopped up the carrots and celery (usually the recipe calls for onion, but I was out). I cooked the carrots and celery in some olive oil for about five minutes, until they were tender.

I then added the wine and the broth and brought the liquid to a boil.

I then added the pasta and let it simmer for about 6-8 minutes until the pasta was tender. I then added the meatballs and the dill and cooked for another minute or two. Next, I added the spinach and cooked until the spinach was wilted (I forgot to take a picture of this step).

When the soup was ready, I served it in large bowls with some Parmesan cheese on top. This picture was actually of the leftovers the night after I originally made the recipe. I think the soup really improves the day after. The broth to meatball and veggie ratio is better and the flavors really develop. Perfect leftovers!

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