I am excited for the last week of February and I’m ready to take on the long, terrible month of March. Once we get through March, the cold winter will be behind us and summer will be that much closer! Bring it on.
Life has been pretty crazy lately. I have been busy with picking out bridesmaids dresses (picked the dress, now just deciding on the color!), planning for our honeymoon (picked the destination, just have to decide on a date!), and buying a house! While these are all exciting things, it is very stressful, time consuming and difficult. I’m taking everything one day at a time and hoping that everything works out for the best.
To get you through the rest of February and March, here is a delicious, good for the soul, italian wedding soup. I made mine with chicken meatballs, but you can use any type of meat you want. This hot soup will keep you warm through the rest of the cold winter and it is very healthy!
Italian Wedding Soup [adapted from Ina Garten]
I chose to make chicken meatballs to make the soup a bit healthier. You can adapt this soup by adding a different type of green. I have tried out spinach and escarole in this soup, and I prefer to use escarole. You can also leave the pasta out if you wish. If you are using pasta, make sure you don’t overcook the pasta…there is nothing worse than mushy pasta.
For the meatballs:
- 1 pound ground chicken
- 2/3 cup fresh white bread crumbs
- 2 teaspoons minced garlic (2 cloves)
- ~1 tablespoon dried parsley
- ~1/2 cup freshly grated Pecorino Romano/Parmesan
- 3 tablespoons milk
- 1 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
- 12 ounces escarole, washed, trimmed, and chopped
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
- For the meatballs, place the ground chicken, 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 meatballs to the soup and simmer for 1 minute. Taste for salt and pepper. Stir in the fresh escarole and cook for 1 minute, until the escarole is just wilted. Ladle into soup bowls and sprinkle each serving with extra grated Parmesan.