This soup is just wonderful. It's so filling and chock-full of veggies. I first simmered up a batch of this soup when it was featured in our local newspaper, the Palm Beach Post Times. You can also substitute chicken sausage, rolled up into little balls, for the meatballs here.—Amy McGowen, Jupiter, Florida
- 1 egg white
- 1/4 cup panko (Japanese) bread crumbs
- 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
- 1/2 pound ground pork
- 2 medium carrots, chopped
- 2 celery ribs, chopped
- 1 medium parsnip, peeled and chopped
- 1 small onion, finely chopped
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 6 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
- 3 teaspoons herbes de Provence
- 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- 1 cup uncooked orzo pasta
- 1 package (6 ounces) fresh baby spinach
- 1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
- 1/4 cup minced fresh parsley
- In a large bowl, combine the egg white, bread crumbs and Italian seasoning. Crumble pork over mixture and mix well. Shape into 3/4-in. balls.
- Place meatballs on a greased rack in a foil-lined 15x10x1-in. baking pan. Bake at 350° for 15-18 minutes or until a thermometer reads 160°.
- Meanwhile, in a Dutch oven, saute the carrots, celery, parsnip and onion in oil until tender. Stir in the broth, herbes de Provence, pepper flakes and pepper.
- Drain meatballs on paper towels. Bring soup to a boil; add meatballs. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, for 30 minutes. Cool. Transfer to freezer containers. May be frozen for up to 3 months.
- To use frozen soup: Thaw in the refrigerator. Transfer to a large saucepan; bring to a boil. Add orzo; cook 8-10 minutes longer or until pasta is tender, stirring occasionally. Add spinach; cook and stir until spinach is wilted. Sprinkle with cheese and parsley. Yield: 7 cups.
Originally published as Italian Wedding Soup in Taste of Home Christmas Annual Annual 2011, p32
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