Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Soup for Dinner...Italilan Wedding Soup

Over the weekend I was watching the Food Network (like I always do) and got the tail end of The Barefoot Contessa making a special dinner for her husband. I thought to myself that the Italian Wedding soup she made looked really tasty. I have seen recipes for this soup all over but never really thought about trying it until I saw hers. My mother-in-law also just happened to have a copy of The Barefoot Contesssa's new book which also had an amazing picture of the soup in I had made up my mind to make it this week for dinner. Since lately my husband has been working late hours and I am in need of more recipes that are easy to reheat for him.

For the meatballs:
3/4 pound ground chicken or turkey
1/2 pound chicken or turkey 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

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

For the meatballs, place the ground chicken, sausage, bread crumbs, garlic, parsley, Pecorino, 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.

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 fresh dill and then 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. Ladle into soup bowls and sprinkle each serving with extra grated Parmesan.

Review: I really enjoyed the flavors of this soup and would make it again. It took me about the same amount of time it states at the beginning of the recipe. The longest prep time for me was cutting all the veggies up for the soup part. I also used Turkey meat instead of chicken because I couldn't find chicken sausages but I thought it was tasty either way. I might actually use the meatball part in the future just for making regular meatballs...they smelled so good while baking in the oven!

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