Friday, January 1, 2010

Italian Wedding Soup

This recipe is January comfort food at its finest—a warm, flavorful soup that's pretty healthful to boot. My inspiration was a recipe by Ina Garten in Barefoot Contessa: Back to Basics. I lightened the original a bit by cutting back on the olive oil used to sauté the veggies without affecting the flavor. (BTW, I'm back on the Weight Watchers bandwagon—this has 6 points.) This makes a lot—10 (1-cup) servings—and freezes well. (Be sure to check out this tip.) Don't be intimidated by the ingredients list—it's very easy to make. Enjoy!

Italian Wedding Soup
1 lb. ground chicken
1/2 lb. chicken sausage, casings removed (I used mild Italian sausage from Whole Foods.)
2 bread slices, processed into breadcrumbs
2 garlic cloves, minced
3 Tbsp. chopped fresh parsley
1/4 cup Pecorino-Romano cheese
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese (If you prefer, you can omit the Pecorino-Romano and use 1/2 cup Parmesan.)
3 Tbsp. milk
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. black pepper
2 tsp. olive oil
1 onion, chopped
3 carrots, cut in half and sliced into half circles
2 celery stalks, chopped
10 cups chicken stock (I prefer Kitchen Basics brand.)
1/2 dry white wine (optional)
1 cup ditalini pasta
12 ounces baby spinach

1. Preheat oven to 350°. Combine ground chicken and next 10 ingredients. Drop teaspoon-size meatballs onto a parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Bake for 30 minutes or until done.
2. Sauté onion and next 2 ingredients in hot oil until vegetables soften. Stir in chicken stock and, if desired, wine. Bring to a boil. Stir in pasta, and cook until pasta is done (about 7 minutes). Stir in baby spinach and meatballs. Cook 5 more minutes. Serve with additional Parmesan cheese, if desired.

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