Italian Wedding Soup2013-09-30
- Yield : 8 cups
- Servings : 8
- Prep Time : 20m
- Cook Time : 46m
- Ready In : 50m
This soup is deceptive. Upon reading the name, one thinks an old Italian Nonna passed this through the generations. No Nonna but a Grandma, maybe. This soup is an example of Italian-ized American cuisine. Sold as an old country favorite, it is as modern as the internet. In fact, there is an old country favorite that does have ties to Italy,minestrone, a vegetable soup with pasta. Minestra is Italian for “soup”. It is a thin soup versus a thicker stew-like concoction, zuppa. So it appears that Italian Wedding Soup is glammed up minestrone. The reference to weddings is the marriage of greens and meat. Tiny meatballs. Nonetheless, whatever you choose to call it, Minestrone or Italian Wedding Soup, it is a fast and hearty dinner that will unite your family around the table.
- 1 pkg of 4 fully cooked Italian flavored chicken sausages
- 1 pound ground chicken
- 2 slices fresh white bread, crusts removed, torn into small pieces
- 2 teaspoons minced garlic
- 3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves
- ½ cup grated parmesan
- 3 TB milk
- 1 large egg
- ½ tsp salt
- ¼ tsp ground black pepper
- 2 TB olive oil
- 1 cup minced onion
- 1 cup diced carrots
- 1 cup diced portabella mushrooms
- 1 cup diced celery
- 12 cups (2 boxes) chicken stock or vegetable broth
- 1 cup small dried pasta such as stellini, orzo, ditalini
- 4 cups baby spinach, washed and trimmed (substitute kale torn into small pieces)
- 3 TB chopped parsley
- 2 TB chopped fennel fronds, optional (add more parsley instead)
Preparation: Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
For the meatballs, cut the sausages into chunks. In batches, pulse several chunks in a food processor until coarsely ground (slightly more coarse than ground beef). Continue until all chunks are ground. In a large bowl, mix together ground sausage, ground chicken, torn bread, garlic, parsley, parmesan, milk, egg, salt, and pepper. With a teaspoon, drop 1” – 1-1/4” meatballs onto a sheet pan lined with parchment paper. (You will get about 50-60 meatballs. They don't have to be perfectly round.) Bake for 30 minutes, until cooked through and lightly browned. Set aside.
Meanwhile, heat the olive oil over medium-low heat in a large dutch oven. Add the onion, carrots, mushrooms, and celery. Saute until softened, 5 to 6 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the chicken stock and bring to a boil. Add the pasta to the pot and cook for 6 to 8 minutes, until the pasta is tender. Add the meatballs to the soup and simmer for 1 minute. Stir in the spinach, parsley, and fennel and cook for 1 minute, until the spinach is just wilted. Adjust salt and pepper if necessary. Serve warm with extra parmesan on top. Refrigerate or freeze leftovers.