Italian Wedding Soup.

by Jeanne

A few weeks back I met up with friends for lunch at St. Vincent where they recently began offering casual one-pot lunches. Lucky for us we were able to experience a very simple yet satisfying Italian Wedding soup that day as the rain fell in almost a monsoon manner.  I rather liked the addition of country bread with an egg salad. While there are many variations for a lunchbox-meal-at-the-desk type of lunch or quick mid-week supper. In this recipe I made the meatballs with turkey for health reasons but equal parts beef and pork would be equally good. By preparing the essentials in advance, in particular, the cooked pasta, broth and meatballs it’s quick and you’ll feel almost virtuous.

Soup
8 oz. small pasta (tubes, small shells, etc.)
4 quarts chicken stock
3 cups baby spinach

Meatballs
3/4 pound ground chicken or turkey
1/2 cup panko
1/4 cup 1% low-fat milk
1 1/4 pounds 97% lean ground turkey
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon ground fennel seed, crushed
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 garlic cloves, minced

Serves 4.

Preparation

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

First, cook pasta to nearly cooked per package instructions.

Prepare the meatballs (can be made ahead):
Combine breadcrumbs and milk. Let stand 5 minutes; squeeze out excess milk, and place in a large bowl. Add turkey, parsley, basil, 1 tablespoon oil, and next 5 ingredients (through garlic). Gently shape meat mixture into 48 (1-inch) balls (do not pack tightly).

Line a baking pan with parchment paper and place the meatballs onto the baking pan.  Bake for 25 minutes or until lightly browned.

Bring the chicken stock to a gentle boil .  Add the cooked pasta. Add meatballs, and simmer for 1 minute.  Add the spinach and return to a gentle boil.  Cook for an additional minute.  Taste for enough salt, and adjust the seasoning if necessary.  Ladle into bowls, sprinkle with parmesan.

Serves 6.

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