It’s been cold here – and not just in an ‘oh, I need a scarf today’ kinda way. This has been cold to the bone, mind numbing cold. The kind of cold that makes you longingly look back at home just seconds after leaving home. And this is during the shank of the day.
Now imagine having to be out there in the middle of the night working. My poor lovey works way too hard, for too many hours, freezing. In order to keep him (semi) happy and warm, the soup of the week is adapted from Ina Garten’s Back to Basics.
- ¾ lb ground chicken
- ½ lb chicken sausages, casings removed
- 2/3 C fresh bread crumbs
- 2 t garlic, minced
- 3 T fresh parsley, finely chopped
- ¼ C freshly grated Pecorino Romano cheese
- ¼ C freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, plus extra for serving
- 3 T milk
- 1 extra large egg, lightly beaten
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
NOTE: For some reason my supermarket chose this week to be out of both chicken and Italian sausage. I was able to find already cooked Italian chicken sausage, so I just minced that up. I used whole wheat bread for the bread crumbs.
- 2 T good olive oil
- 1 C yellow onions, minced
- 1 C ¼” diced carrots (2-3 depending on the size of the carrots)
- ¾ C ¼” diced celery
- 10 C chicken broth
- ½ C dry white wine
- 1 C small pasta like tubetini or stars
- ¼ C fresh dill, minced
- 12 oz/340g baby spinach, washed and trimmed
NOTE: I can’t say it enough, it was really very hard for me not to use my crappy olive oil. I am so glad Ina cleared it up by telling me I should use the good stuff. I cheated. I used stock in a box – low sodium stock in a box, but in a box just the same. I used a bag of baby spinach. It was a 10 oz. bag, but there was still a lot of spinach in the soup.
We start with the meatballs.
Preheat the oven to 350°F and line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
Add all the meatball ingredients in a large bowl and combine gently with a fork. Using a teaspoon, drop small (1” or so) meatballs onto the baking sheet. There should be about 40 meatballs.
NOTE: Being the lazy sod that I am, I used a cookie scoop. These really don’t need to be perfectly round meatballs.
Bake for 30 minutes or until cooked through and lightly browned. Set aside.
NOTE: I couldn’t resist. I had to try one. These are really good. You would be heard pressed to know that these were chicken and not beef.
Now, 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 sauté until softened (about 6 minutes or so), stirring occasionally.
Add the chicken broth and wine and bring to a boil. Add the pasta to the simmering broth and cook until the pasta is tender. Add the fresh dill and then the meatballs to the soup and simmer for a couple of minutes. Taste and add salt & pepper if necessary.
NOTE: I left out the dill. I forgot to buy it and really didn’t think it would make a big difference. I did add the pasta at this point. I knew this soup would be completely consumed within 5 days so the pasta would hold up. It you are going to make this and freeze it, skip the pasta. When you defrost the soup, cook a little bit of pasta and then stir it into the soup.
Stir in the fresh spinach and cook for 1-2 minutes until the spinach leaves begin to wilt. Ladle into soup bowls and sprinkle each serving with extra grated Parmesan cheese.
NOTE: Definitely a keeper and something to do again. It seems like a lot of ingredients and that it would be fiddley because of them, but this comes together easily and quickly. I know it’s good when I get a peck on the cheek after tasting!