Italian Wedding Soup

Italian Wedding soup with acini de pepi pasta

Italian Wedding Soup, which I made completely on the fly one day, is a wonderful soup, and a favorite of my daughter Sara's. When I decided to make Italian Wedding soup, I improvised, and it came out so yummy, I tried to recreate it in writing right afterward. As you can see, there are a lot of ways you can adjust this and make it into your own version. I imagine there are as many versions of this soup as there are families who make it. It's Sara's birthday this week, and she is a very busy junior at William and Mary. Perhaps I will make her some for her dorm fridge.

Individual sized servings for the freezer

1 lb. lean gound turkey breast
1/2 cup fresh bread crumbs
1 egg, slightly beaten
salt and pepper to taste, maybe a little red pepper flake to brighten it up a bit

3 Tbl. olive oil
3 ribs of celery, diced fine
1 medium onion, diced fine
2 cups of diced carrots
2 cloves minced garlic
1 tsp. dried basil
64 oz. chicken broth and almost same amount of water (I like the Trader Joe's boxed organic free range)
1/3 lb. ditalini pasta (or small shells. or other small pasta shape)
1/4 c. flour
1 small zucchini, ends trimmed but peel on
1/2 lb. fresh baby spinach leaves
salt and pepper to taste
grated parmesan cheese to garnish

In a medium bowl, mix all meatball ingredients together, and roll into small, walnut-sized meatballs. Set aside on a plate or cookie sheet.

In a heavy kettle, heat olive oil and saute celery, onions, carrots, and garlic until the onions are transparent and softened. Do not brown. Add dry basil, and mix well. 

In a small bowl, mix the flour with a little hot water, making sure there are no lumps. Add to vegetables and simmer a little. If it gets a little thick or dry, add a small amount of the chicken broth and stir well to incorporate. Top off with all the chicken stock and the water. Bring to a simmer, stirring to make sure the flour gets completely incorporated, so it can thicken a little.

Add meatballs carefully, lowering them into the broth with a long spoon. Take care stirring, but make sure they are not getting stuck to the bottom of the pot. Add the pasta, and simmer until the meatballs are cooked (they will float to the top) and the pasta is tender. Add salt and pepper to taste, and grate the zucchini directly into the pot. Just before serving, shred the spinach leaves and add to simmering broth, cooking until just wilted.

This is good as is or served with a little grated parmesan or asiago cheese on top.