Italian Wedding Soup

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I know I’ve said this before, but I have never made a recipe of Ina Garten’s that wasn’t good. Not only are her recipes good, they are usually pretty fantastic. This recipe for Italian Wedding Soup is no different. It was delicious the night I made it, and delicious the rest of the week for lunches. The meatballs are made from a mixture of ground chicken and ground chicken sausage and their flavor is delicious. They are so good that I found myself eating quite a few when they came out of the oven before they even made it into the soup. (They would make a great party appetizer!) Feel free to use whatever chicken sausage you like, but I used a hot Italian chicken sausage and it added the perfect amount of heat. I love this soup so much I will be making it every month because it makes a lot (for two people anyway) and leaves enough for lunches for a few days. Slowly reheat in a small pot on the stove, or microwave.

slightly adapted from: Barefoot Contessa Back To Basics
serves: 6-8

For the meatballs

¾ pound ground chicken
½ pound chicken sausage, casings removed (I used hot Italian)
2/3 cup fresh white bread crumbs
2 garlic cloves, minced
3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
½ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, plus extra for serving
2-3 tablespoons milk
1 extra-large eggs, lightly beaten
kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

For the soup

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 cup minced yellow onion
1 cup ¼ inch diced carrots (about 3 carrots)
¾ cup ¼ inch diced celery (2 stalks)
10 cups homemade or good quality chicken stock
½ cup dry white wine
1 cup small pasta such as tubettini or stars
¼ cup minced fresh dill
8-10 ounces baby spinach, washed and trimmed

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Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

For the meatballs, place the ground chicken, sausage, bread crumbs, garlic, parsley, Parmesan, milk, egg, 1 teaspoon salt, and ½ teaspoon pepper in a bowl and combine with a fork or your hands.
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With a small cookie scoop or teaspoon, drop 1 to 1 ½ inch meatballs onto a sheet pan lined with parchment paper. They don’t have to be perfectly round.
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Bake for 30 minutes, until cooked through and lightly browned. Set aside.

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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 sauté until softened, 5-6 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the chicken stock and wine and bring to a boil. Add the pasta to the simmering broth and cook for 6-8 minutes, until the pasta is tender. Add the fresh dill and then the meatballs to the soup and simmer for 1 minute.
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Taste for salt and pepper. Stir in the desired amount of 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 cheese.

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