I adapted this recipe from Ina Garten’s “Back to Basics” cookbook. I have tried almost all the recipes in it and they are fabulous! The soup is made with pasta, lots veggies like carrots, celery, and spinach. Fresh herbs like dill and parsley are added too. The meatballs have Pecorino Romano cheese, Parmesan cheese, milk that make them soft and delicious! I love that the meatballs are not fried but baked making it so much more easier. It’s a complete soup that has carbs, protein,vegetables and lots of flavor!
The first time I made this soup I used home made chicken stock which was very flavorful no doubt but also very expensive. So this time around, I cheated and used store bought chicken stock. It had a good flavor, was inexpensive and was quick and easy. I substituted the Tubetini pasta for alphabet pasta. Something fun for my little one! I skipped the wine as I didn’t have any at home and was just too lazy to go get one. The end result was a delicious soup that none of us could get enough off. Enjoy!
For the meatballs:
- 3/4 pound ground chicken- ( I used 1 pound chicken)
- 1/2 pound chicken sausage, casings removed
- 2/3 cup fresh white bread crumbs
- 2 teaspoons minced garlic (2 cloves)- ( I used 3 garlic cloves)
- 3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves
- 1/4 cup freshly grated Pecorino Romano
- 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan, plus extra for serving
- 3 tablespoons milk
- 1 extra-large egg, lightly beaten
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
For the soup:
- 2 tablespoons good olive oil
- 1 cup minced yellow onion
- 1 cup diced carrots (3 carrots), cut into 1/4 inch pieces
- 3/4 cup diced celery (2 stalks), cut into 1/4 inch pieces
- 10 cups homemade chicken stock- ( I used Swanson chicken broth, about 6 cups)
- 1/2 cup dry white wine- ( I skipped this as I had no wine at home)
- 1 cup small pasta such as tubetini or stars- ( I used alphabets pasta, something cute for the kids)
- 1/4 cup minced fresh dill
- 12 ounces baby spinach, washed and trimmed- ( I used 6 ounces, that’s all I had at home)
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
With a teaspoon, drop 1 to 1 1/4-inch meatballs onto a sheet pan lined with parchment paper. (You should have about 40 meatballs. They don’t have to be perfectly round.) Bake for 30 minutes, until cooked through and lightly browned. Set aside.
In the meantime, 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 saute until softened, 5 to 6 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Add the chicken stock and wine and bring to a boil. Add the pasta to the simmering broth and cook for 6 to 8 minutes, until the pasta is tender. Add the fresh dill and then the meatballs to the soup and simmer for 1 minute. Taste for salt and pepper. Stir in the fresh spinach and cook for 1 minute, until the spinach is just wilted. Ladle into soup bowls and sprinkle each serving with extra grated Parmesan.
Since I used less chicken stock, I froze 8 to 10 cooked meatballs for later use.
As the soup sits, the pasta might make the soup thick. While re heating, add hot water or chicken stock for desired consistency.