Fall hit Colorado hard this past weekend and it’s finally soup season!
Soups almost feel like cheating at eating healthy – a hearty broth can be so filling and satisfying. Italian Wedding Soup has the classic comforts of meatballs and pasta but it’s also loaded with veggies. The starch from the pasta makes the broth creamy and rich. This is my replacement for the classic chicken soup as a go-to when I’m sick, worn out, or just want to be indulgent.
This soup has nothing to do with weddings and everything to do with the beautiful marriage of green vegetables and meat. And you can hit a very zen-like state when you’re rolling endless little bite-sized meatballs. Just me? Okay.
Our original family recipe uses half beef and half pork for the meatballs and sautés them on the stove, and let me tell you, those things are GOOD. But subbing ground turkey and baking saves you over 100 calories and 13g of fat per serving. Totally worth it, especially when we’re loading them up with so much parmesan and parsley goodness.
If you’re wondering what the heck acini de pepe is and where to get it… they’re just tiny little pasta balls. My local grocery store has three or four varieties, and you can sub any other small pasta shape if you can’t find it. Stelline, tiny stars, are cute for
kids everyone and about the same size.
- 1/2 onion finely diced
- 1/2 cup italian parsley chopped
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 1 egg
- 1 t. salt
- 1 t. pepper
- 3/4 cup bread crumbs
- 1/2 cup parmesan
- 1 lb. ground turkey
- 2 T olive oil
- 1 1/2 onions diced
- 3 carrots diced
- 2 stalks celery diced
- 1 clove garlic minced
- 12 cups chicken broth
- 1 lb spinach ribboned
- 1 cup acini de pepe or other small pasta
- parmesan for serving
Preheat oven to 350°.
Meatballs first! Combine all the meatball ingredients in a big bowl. This is a good time to get your hands dirty and really make sure everything’s mixed well.
Roll into meatballs about the size of a nickel and place on a baking sheet. You want the final meatball to be bite-sized, but keep in mind they’ll shrink while baking.
Bake at 350° for around 20 minutes, until just barely cooked through.
While the meatballs are baking, get started on chopping the onions, carrots, celery, and garlic.
Sauté the vegetables in a big stockpot for five minutes or until the onions are just turning translucent.
Add the chicken broth and simmer for 10-15 minutes, until the carrots and celery are almost cooked through.
Stir in the acini de pepe followed by the spinach. Cook for 5-7 minutes, until the pasta is just barely al dente – it will continue to cook in the hot broth.
Ladle into bowls, add meatballs, and top with parmesan.
This can also be prepped ahead of time up until adding the acini de pepe and spinach.