I'm secretly grateful that Red and I agree that a big cup of hearty soup with maybe a few pieces of warm crusty French bread with a few slices of good stinky cheese is an ideal winter meal. I am always in the lookout for a new soup recipe that we both can enjoy on a regular basis. I prefer soups that are not too heavy (so any cream-based soups would be out for me) & this recipe fits perfectly to what I envision as an ideal soup.
It uses ground chicken and Italian sausage, pastas, and veggies... Aaah... did I mention those meatballs are heaven-sent? We don't normally eat meatballs, but we do now. We have made this several times now since we first found it a few months ago. I hope you enjoy this as much as we do!
Note: we couldn't find any ground chicken in our grocery store, so we used turkey sausages instead.
For the meatballs:
3/4 lb. ground chicken
1/2 lb. Italian sausage
2/3 cup fresh white bread crumbs
2 tsp. minced garlic
3 tbsp. chopped fresh parsley
1/4 cup grated Romano cheese
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
3 tbsp. milk
1 egg, lightly beaten
Kosher salt and black pepper
For the soup:
2 tbsp. olive oil
1 cup minced yellow onion
1 cup 1/4-inch diced carrots
3/4 cup 1/4-inch diced celery
10 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 cup small pasta
1/4 cup minced fresh dill
12 oz. baby spinach, washed and trimmed
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper.
For the meatballs, place the ground chicken, Italian sausage, bread crumbs, garlic, parsley, Romano cheese, Parmesan cheese, milk, egg, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper in a bowl. Mix gently with a fork until well combined. Form the mixture into 1- to 1 1/4-inch meatballs and place onto the prepared baking sheet. Bake for 30 minutes, until cooked through and lightly browned. Set aside.
In the meantime, for the soup, heat the olive oil over medium heat in a large Dutch oven. Add the onion, carrots, and celery and saute until softened, 5-6 minutes. Add the chicken broth and wine and bring to a boil. Add the pasta to the simmering broth and cook for 6-8 minutes or until al dente. Add the fresh dill and then the meatballs to the soup and simmer for 1 additional minute. Taste for seasoning, and adjust salt and pepper as necessary. Stir in the fresh spinach and cook for 1 minute, until the spinach is just wilted. Ladle into soup bowls and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese, if desired.
Source: adapted from Barefoot Contessa: Back to Basics by Ina Garten