Italian Wedding Soup

My friends Brian and Benji were married on 10-10-10 in a perfectly sweet ceremony with an adorable Muppets-themed reception, and I made Italian Wedding Soup for lunch that day.

I wish I could say that I made the soup in honor of their union, but really, I just love soup.

This is a perfect fall soup – warm and comforting – and a pretty reasonably priced one-dish meal. Also? Tiny meatballs are adorable.

I substituted parsnips for the more traditional carrots and they were wonderful – creamy, just a little bit sweet, and a perfect complement to the buttery fresh dill.

Recipe below the fold

Italian Wedding Soup

1 1/4 pound ground beef and pork (I had about twice as much beef as pork)

2/3 cup bread crumbs (I used wheat bread)

3 large cloves garlic, minced

1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes

1/4 teaspoon dried oregano

1/8 teaspoon ground coriander

1 teaspoon chopped fresh parsley leaves

1/2 cup grated Parmesan

3 tablespoons milk

1 egg, lightly beaten

Kosher salt

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 small leek, minced

2 parsnips, peeled and diced

2 stalks celery, diced

6 cups chicken stock

1 cup elbow macaroni

1/4 cup fresh dill

9 ounces chopped spinach, washed and trimmed

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

In a medium mixing bowl, gently combine the ground meat, bread crumbs, garlic, red pepper flakes, oregano, coriander, parsley, Parmesan, milk, egg, and 1 teaspoon salt. Form 1-inch meatballs and line them up on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. You should have about 40 meatballs. Bake for 30 minutes, until cooked through and lightly browned.

In the meantime, heat the olive oil over medium-low heat in a large soup pot. Add the leek, parsnips, and celery and sauté until softened, 5 to 6 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the chicken stock and bring to a boil. Add the pasta to the stock and cook it to al dente, per the pasta package instructions. Add the dill, the spinach, and the meatballs to the soup, and cook for a couple minutes, until the spinach is wilted. Season to taste.

Linked to: This Week’s Cravings, Gooseberry Patch

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