While, Susan, at Flavors by Four, says that she doesn't usually make soup, I am happy that she decided to go for it and make the Italian Wedding Soup that she had been wanting to prepare. I had made Italian Wedding Soup quite a few years ago but made beef meatballs so I was eager to try this more healthy approach using ground chicken and chicken sausage for the meatballs. This certainly didn't disappoint!
At the market, I realized that ground chicken was not going to happen but the chicken sausage was available so I paired the sausage with ground turkey. Knowing that Mr. T. needed a hearty soup at dinner, I used a larger pasta and added a can of drained and rinsed cannellini beans. Beans? Why beans? Beans because the previous recipe I had made called for beans instead of pasta...so why not use both!? It was a good decision...so good....
The recipe made about 48 meatballs. If you are going to try it, I would recommend using a small cookie scoop. That makes the process painless!
Italian Wedding Soup
adapted from Susan at Flavors by Four and Barefoot Contessa
3/4 pound ground turkey (or chicken)
1/2 pound chicken sausage, casings removed
2/3 cup bread crumbs, Italian seasoned
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley leaves
1/4 cup freshly grated Romano cheese
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, plus extra to top when serving
3 Tbsp milk
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 tsp Kosher salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper
2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, minced (about 1 cup)
3 carrots, peeled and diced (about 1 cup)
2 stalks celery, diced (about 3/4 cup)
10 cups chicken stock
1/2 cup white wine
1 can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
1 cup small pasta, tubes such as a small rigatoni
2 Tbsp chopped fresh basil
12 oz. baby spinach, washed and trimmed
Preheat oven to 350° F.
In a large bowl place the ground turkey, sausage, bread crumbs, garlic, parsley, the two cheeses, milk, egg, salt and pepper, gently combine with a fork. Form meatballs that are about 1 to 1 1/4 inch in diameter using two teaspoons or with a scoop. Place the meatballs on a prepared baking sheet that has been lined with parchment paper. The meatballs do not need to be perfectly round. Bake the meatballs for until cooked through and lightly browned, about 30 minutes. Set aside.
Heat the olive oil in a large soup pot, over medium heat. Add the onion, carrots, and celery and sauté until softened, about 5-6 minutes. Stir occasionally to avoid sticking. Add the chicken stock and the wine and bring to a boil. Add the pasta to the broth and continue simmering until the pasta is tender. Add the drained and rinsed cannellini beans, the basil and the meatballs. Simmer for another few minutes. Taste for seasoning. Add salt and/or pepper as desired. Stir in the fresh spinach and cook for another minute or two, until the spinach is wilted. Ladle into soup bowls and sprinkle with the remaining shredded parmesan cheese.
Served with a crusty bread or a cheesy garlic bread. Either is perfect with this soup!
Now let me share a little bit about Susan and Nicole, the mother-daughter team, that blogs at Flavors by Four. The ladies love to eat, cook, bake and in 2010, started to share! They take turns posting and have accumulated quite a variety of dishes. I had marked a few recipes to prepare such as Nicole's Sausage, Spinach and Bean Soup and Susan's Chocolate Guinness Cupcakes with Baily's Irish Cream Frosting. You have know idea how many times I thought about making the cupcakes.... Ladies, thank you for sharing your blog with me! It was fun.