I have to admit that the inspiration for this one was random. I have never made Italian Wedding soup before, and it is not a tradition in my family. In fact, I am not even sure whether or not it is traditionally served at Italian weddings, because I have never been to one. To be perfectly honest, I am not even Italian, as you can tell by the undeniable waspiness of my last name. But you guys know that I wouldn’t share this with you if it wasn’t good…and this was good.
The idea popped into my subconscience about a week after I had seen both Ina Garten and Rachel Ray make Italian Wedding soup in the same afternoon. The Contessa’s looked particularly appealing and easy to make, so I thought I would go for it. Since I had seen the show over a week before, the exact process she used was hazy for me, so I decided to just give it a shot. I used turkey for the meatballs instead of chicken because the ground turkey looked better at my local butcher. I guess I got lucky on this one because it was delicious. It was comfortable and salty while still light. I bought a whole grain sour dough loaf from the Hi-Rise Bread Company, sliced it and rubbed it with a clove of garlic, which was all the accompaniment I needed to make this a highly affordable, satiating meal.
Here is how it went:
Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Combine all of the above ingredients thoroughly, but avoid over-mixing which could make the meatballs tough. Using a teaspoon, form rounded spoonfuls of the meat mixture into bite sized balls and place on a non-stick baking sheet. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until they are golden brown and firm all the way through.
Heat a large soup or stock pot over medium heat. Add the butter, olive oil, and onions, carrots, and celery. Salt and add red pepper to taste. Cook the vegtables until they soften, but they shouldn’t brown (about twelve minutes). Add the wine and let it reduce by half or so. This adds good depth of flavor and acidity. Add the chicken stock, the pasta, and the meatballs. With about five or six minutes remaining until the pasta is cooked, add the spinach. Taste for salt content. Garnish with Parmesan cheese and serve immediately with big chunks of bread.
Serves at least six – I was eating it all week!
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