Italian Wedding Soup has been one of my favorites for years. It's a meal in a bowl and who doesn't like meatballs? Brings me back to my Spaghetti-O's with Meatballs phase. But this is much butter. The recipe I originally followed was Rachael Ray's, but I've tweaked and added (specifically more broth) over the years. Make this big batch and freeze the leftovers in muffin tins. They reheat wonderfully.
-2 Tbsp olive oil
-4 carrots, peeled and diced
-3 ribs of celery, peeled and diced
-1 large white onion
-1 dried bay leaf
-1 lb lean ground beef, veal or pork
-1 egg, beaten
-3 garlic cloves, minced
-1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
-1/2 tsp nutmeg
-1/2 cup bread crumbs
-10 cups chicken stock-1 pkg (16 oz) of small pasta - I use Acini di Pepe (orzo or mini shells will work, too)
-1 lb (large bag) baby spinach
First, dice your white onion, four carrots, and three celery ribs. In a large stockpot heat 2 Tbsp olive oil over medium-high heat. Add your chopped veggies and bay leaf. Add some salt and pepper and saute a few minutes until the onions are translucent but not browned.
Add 10 cups of chicken stock to the pot and turn up the heat and bring to a slow boil.
While the stock is warming up, make your meatballs. Combine 1 lb of ground meat, 1 beaten egg, 3 cloves minced garlic, 1/2 tsp nutmeg, 1/2 cup bread crumbs, 1/2 cup of parmesan cheese in a large bowl, salt and pepper. Use your hands to mix together. Start to form small balls out of the meat mixture to make little meatballs. You can stack these on a plate while the soup is warming up.
Add the meatballs and dried pasta to the pot of simmering stock. The meatballs will cook in the soup. After 10-15 minutes your pasta and meatballs should be done. Working in handfuls at a time, add the spinach to the soup and stir to wilt the spinach. Continue until you've added all of your spinach.
Serve the soup warm and garnish with a few pieces of shaved parmesan.