From Barefoot Contessa Back to Basics: Fabulous Flavor from Simple Ingredients
This is the best version I’ve ever tried!
Prep time: 15 minutes
Baking time for meatballs: 30 minutes
Cooking time for soup: 30 minutes or so
Meatballs: makes about 40 (I will probably never fry meatballs again)
¾ lb/340g ground chicken
½ lb/225g chicken sausages, casings removed
2/3 cups fresh bread crumbs (I used Panko crumbs instead)
2 large cloves garlic, minced
3 tbsp fresh parsley, finely chopped
¼ cup freshly grated Pecorino Romano cheese
¼ cup freshly grated Parmigianino Regianno cheese, plus extra for serving
3 tbsp milk
1 extra large egg (I actually used 2 large eggs), lightly beaten
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tbsp good olive oil
1 cup yellow onions, minced (I just quartered them and pulsed them in the food processor)
1 cup ¼” diced carrots (2-3 depending on the size of the carrots)
¾ cup ¼” diced celery
10 cups chicken broth (Ina’s sounds wonderful, but I just used some boxed broth this time)
½ cup dry white wine
1 cup small pasta like tubetini or stars (I couldn’t find either so I used cute tiny bowties…after all this is a “Wedding” soup)
¼ cup fresh dill, minced
12 oz/340g baby spinach, washed and trimmed
1. Preheat the oven to 350°F/176°C and prepare a large rimmed baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
2. In a large bowl, combine all the meatball ingredients gently with a fork. Using a teaspoon, drop small (1” or so) meatballs onto the baking sheet. They don’t have to be perfectly round.
3. Bake for 30 minutes or until cooked through and lightly browned. Set aside.
I may never fry meatballs again! A very health friendly way to cook up your favorite kind of meatballs without any extra fat. I actually made the meatballs the day before serving the soup.
1. Heat the olive oil over medium low heat in a large heavy bottomed Dutch oven (or really large pot). Add the onion, carrots, and celery and sauté until softened (about 6 minutes or so), stirring occasionally.
2. Add the chicken broth and wine and bring to a boil. (I did this step the day before the dinner party too.)
3. If you choose to make the soup base and meatballs in advance, remember to bring the meatballs to room temperature and heat the soup to just boiling before continuing. Add the pasta to the simmering broth and cook until the pasta is tender (5-6 minutes – the pasta is tiny). Add the fresh dill and then the meatballs to the soup. Simmer for a couple of minutes to make sure the meatballs are heated through. Taste for seasoning.
4. Stir in the fresh spinach and cook for 1-2 minutes (just until the spinach leaves wilt). Ladle into soup bowls and sprinkle each serving with extra grated Parmesan cheese.
I served it with Ina’s Parmesan & Thyme Crackers which were very tasty, but I have to make them again…this time not so crumbly.