I have been wanting to make this type of soup for a year. I kid you not! Despite my refrigerator troubles, I decided to go ahead and make this yesterday. The one blessing in this whole mess is that my freezer still works so I was able to freeze the leftovers. Anyway, it was last winter when it got slightly chilly that I decided I really wanted to make an Italian wedding soup, but it never stays cold for too long here in the land of the lost, so I never got around to making it. It isn't really cold right now, but I have been craving something other than the frozen convenience foods I have been consuming lately. These meatballs could quite possibly be the best meatballs I have ever made. The spicy kick from the Italian sausage kept them interesting and using a higher fat turkey kept them moist without being mushy. Surprisingly, for an Ina Garten recipe, this is quite healthy and I made sure to add tons of extra spinach and only use a bit of the pasta called for in the original recipe. This is a great, hearty soup that won't weigh you down or have you feeling guilty after you eat it.
Italian Wedding Soup
(Adapted from Ina Garten)
Makes 4-5 servings
For the meatballs:
1/2 pound ground turkey (93% lean)
1/4 pound hot Italian chicken sausage, casings removed
1/4 cup panko bread crumbs
2 teaspoons grated garlic
1 1/2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves
2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan, plus extra for serving
1 extra-large egg, lightly beaten
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
For the soup:
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small yellow onion, diced
1/2 cup diced carrots, cut into 1/4 inch pieces
1/4 cup diced celery, cut into 1/4 inch pieces
5 cups chicken stock
1/4 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup small pasta such as tubetini or stars
2 tablespoons minced fresh dill
6 ounces baby spinach, washed and trimmed
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
For the meatballs, place the ground chicken, sausage, bread crumbs, garlic, parsley, Parmesan, 1/2 the egg, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 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 16-20 meatballs) Bake for 25-30 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 if desired.