It is bitterly cold out there, perfect weather for arctic foxes or penguins. In here I feel soup is called for to warm from the inside out. This is American comfort food at it’s best; simple to make, flavorful and always comes out right. My dear friend Cathy made this a lot for her kids. They used to call this “grass soup” when they were little because it is chock full of fresh spinach that melts into this healthy yet still meaty classic soup. I make mine with ground chicken for the tiny meatballs. You could use ground turkey, veal or beef.
You can make this soup with canned broth; but, be sure the package is marked gluten free if you have celiac disease like I do, my favorite choice is Kitchen Basic, and they have a low salt chicken broth broth which is perfect for cooking. Homemade is going to make it more flavorful if you have some around but sometimes we just don’t have time to make fresh broth. The recipe is modified slightly from one by Ina Garten, foodnetwork.com. Cathy, being Italian, just tosses it together so I had t0 find a source for a decent recipe and I am happy with my choice.
Don’t freak out if you only have one carrot or don’t want as much of any ingredient; make it your way. Some versions have fresh dill chopped up and added at the end 2-3 tbsp. of it.
Angie’s Italian Wedding Soup
1 lb ground chicken
1 large egg
About ½-2/3 cup gf bread crumbs
¼ cup fresh grated parmesan cheese
½ tsp. sea salt
1 tbsp olive oil
1 medium to large yellow onion, diced
2 carrots, unpeeled, sliced into quarter rounds
2 celery stalks diced including the leaves
1 or 2 garlic cloves
½ cup white wine
1 1/2 quarts of chicken broth
½ cup tiny gf pasta; I found some tiny ring shaped pasta
1 package fresh baby spinach, 12 oz. size
½ to 1 tsp. sea salt and some fresh black pepper
Directions: Dump the meatball ingredients into a large mixing bowl, (beat the egg somewhat before dumping the rest in) stir up with your hands and form into 1 1/4 inch meatballs, 1 and ½ inches maximum. Place them 1 inch apart on a parchment lined baking sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes, bigger ones will need a few more minutes. If you feel perfectionistic, turn them half way though the baking, not really that necessary though.
While they bake, heat the olive oil in a large saucepan; I used a two quart one. Add the diced onion, celery and carrots. Cook them about 6-8 minutes until soft, add the garlic and cook another minute. Add the broth and white wine to the soup, stirring frequently; bring to a boil and add the meatballs, reheat, add the pasta, cook until nearly done, add the spinach, cook 1-2 minutes; taste and adjust the salt. Add fresh ground black pepper to taste.
Pour in a bowl. I topped mine with some more fresh grated parmesan cheese. Perfect meal when you want to sooth a still slightly iffy tummy.