This soup totally exceeded my expectations.
It’s one of those recipes that has really simple ingredients and you wonder if it’s going to taste like the sum of its parts or if something magical is going to happen.
In this case there was magic, baby!
Warm. Rich. Meatbally.
That last one is a highly technical term.
I found this recipe on Pinterest and was immediately intrigued by it because:
1. Andy loves Italian Wedding Soup and regularly heats up a can of it for lunch, so I figured he’d like it
2. The broth looked so delicious to me. Not your average clear consommé, this broth looked rich and rustic and I just wanted to sip it right off my computer screen.
Yes, I know I’m a weirdo.
Bear with me on this one.
I pinned the recipe and decided to give it a whirl last week in the midst of our Michigan Arctic Winter because in the words of my sister, “There’s nothin’ like a hot cup of soup on a coooooold night!”
In order to save time and money, I made a number of modifications to the original recipe but my version turned out delicious nonetheless.
My local Kroger didn’t have escarole (a dark, leafy green) in stock and none of the other greens really spoke to me for this soup, so I decided to take a risk and use the bag of frozen spinach I knew I had at home. I also didn’t want to shell out extra cash for a wedge of parmesan and a wedge of romano so I took a big shortcut and bought a plastic tub of the two combined.
It seems like a complete and utter travesty to substitute “green canister cheese” for the real deal, but honestly it worked out just fine and saved me at least $12.
Instead of chicken stock, I used vegetable stock and love love loved how it contrasted with the rich meatballs, eggs, and cheese and lightened everything up. I recommend this one.
If you don’t eat beef, you could totally use ground turkey for the meatballs and I think the soup would still turn out beautifully.
Finally, the original recipe called for frying the meatballs in oil on the stove, but I was just too busy for all of that effort. Instead, I lined a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper and baked my mini meatballs for about 12 minutes. They came out perfectly cooked and golden brown without any extra oil. BOOM.
While already a simple recipe, these changes made it even more attainable for a weeknight meal option. Paired with a slice of delicious crusty bread and a small green salad, you have a meal fit for a wedding.
Or, you know, a random Tuesday night :)
- ¾ pound ground meat (beef, turkey or even chicken)
- ½ cup dry bread crumbs
- 3 large eggs (1 for meatballs and 2 for broth)
- 1 cup grated Parmesan and Romano cheese (in the green canister!), divided
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 medium yellow onion, diced
- 6 cloves garlic, minced
- 8 cups vegetable stock (or chicken stock)
- 1 bag frozen cut spinach leaves (approx 10-12 oz)
- Red pepper flakes to taste
- Juice of ½ lemon
- Additional salt and pepper to taste
- Preheat oven to 375* F
- Combine the ground meat, bread crumbs, 1 egg, ½ cup grated parmesan romano cheese, oregano, salt and pepper in a bowl. Mix thoroughly, then form the mixture into 1 inch balls. You should have 30 or more meatballs, depending on how small you make them.
- Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Fill the entire surface with the mini meatballs, allowing only a little space between each of them since they will shrink when they cook. Bake at 375 for 10-12 minutes or until golden and fragrant. It's ok if they are slightly pink in the center after baking as they will finish cooking in the hot soup.
- In a large soup pot, heat 1 tablespoon oil over medium high heat. Add the onion and sauté until tender (about 5 min) then add the garlic and cook until it is soft, but not browned (about 2 minutes). Add the stock and bring to a boil. Add the greens, reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer for 10 minutes. Add the meatballs and cook another 5 minutes.
- Meanwhile, combine the remaining 2 eggs and remaining ½ cup cheese in small bowl and stir with a fork to blend. Slowly pour the egg mixture into the hot soup, stirring constantly. Cover and simmer just until egg bits are set, about 30 seconds. Season to taste with salt, black pepper, a pinch of red pepper flakes and a squirt of lemon juice. Serve immediately.
- Leftovers will keep in a sealed container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. To re-heat, simmer gently over low heat.