I am not just about the sweets (though I do love baking), I also love FRESH and simple foods, so get ready as the next few weeks will hold some savory recipes!
I love this soup, my husband loves this soup, my boys LOVE this soup and ask for it often. Even when they are sick, which happened to be the case this past weekend. A slight touch of the flu hit, I say slight because it only lasted one day with us all not feeling well. Fever, aches, chills, nausea; but this morning, no fevers, nothing, na-da! I am so grateful, I must say I believe there is something so very medicinal about chicken noodle soup, I changed it up slightly and made Italian Wedding Soup.
I originally tasted this satisfying soup when my friend Patty made it; she claims she doesn’t like to cook, but have you ever noticed that the people in your life who say that they hate to cook or bake are in truth extremely good cooks!? I have numerous friends like that and I have discovered that while they may not like it, they know good food when they taste it and have numerous go-to, extremely yummy recipes in their repertoire! So this is a shout out to my dear friend and co-worker, Patty! Thank you for introducing us to this soup, our entire family thanks you!
Do not allow making your own meatballs scare you away, these are really easy!
TIP #1: Here I have tripled (I’d suggest at least doubling) the ingredients so that you have extra meatball mixture on hand in the freezer to pull out for a quick and warm weeknight meal. Prep once and have at the ready numerous meals within minutes! It’s simple and nutritious, light and yet fulfilling. The reality is that it truly makes more meatballs than I usually put in, thereby I am able to get 6 soups out of tripling the recipe. I don’t think anyone feels cheated either.
TIP #2: GLUTEN FREE OPTION | This soup is super easy to cover to a GF soup. Make sure your broth or stock do not contain gluten, purchase GF sausage (I like Boulder Sausage brand), and swap your bread crumbs out for a Gluten Free option (hint, you can also toast some GF bread nice and dry then smash into crumbs in a baggie) DeLallo makes a very nice GF Orzo.
Gather yourself a large bowl (especially if you are doubling or tripling the recipe).
As you see from the picture above, it’s really nice to grate instead of chop your onion, making them nice and small, the meatballs are small you don’t want large chunks of onion floating around in the soup or meatballs.
Strip the casings off of your sausage, using a sharp knife, slice down the length of the sausage, peel casing away and discard. Add the egg(s), bread crumbs, Parmesan or Romano cheeses (buried in the photo – oops) and grated onion.
Stay with me, it gets so fun, messy and squishy and the best way to do this is with your bare hands! Remember what it felt like to squish your toes through the mud? I loved squishing my toes through mud, actually if I’m being honest, I still love squishing my toes through mud. Plus it mixes it perfectly.
Does touching raw meat and eggs gross you out? It did when I was pregnant! Throw on a pair of disposable gloves, I keep a box around for everything. Or if you must, use a wooden spoon, but mix it well.
Pull out some plastic wrap, wax or parchment paper; one sheet for the number of logs you want and lay them on top of one another. Roll meat mixture into several logs (eyeballing it is fine, about 8″ x 2″), since I tripled my recipe, it yielded 6 logs. Don’t forget to keep one out if you are making it immediately.
Wrap them up tightly and put them into a gallon ziplock baggie, getting out as much air as possible (air is not a frozen foods friend). Remember to mark your bag so you know what they are and don’t open it 6 months from now and wonder what this mystery log is?!
For the soup, now we’re back to the basic recipe, so get the triple or double idea out of your head, unless you want a HUMONGOUS pot of soup, then by all means, go right ahead! Add your chicken stock or broth, broths are more seasoned, so reduce your overall seasonings to taste. What’s the difference? Basically, a stock is made from bones and a broth is a liquid in which meat has been cooked. Read more in Alton Brown’s post.
Add your garlic powder, celery salt, onion powder, salt and pepper to taste. If using a broth, taste first to see how much seasoning you need to add.
While you are waiting for your stock to come to a rolling, soft boil, make your mini meatballs.
Form your teensy, tiny, bite-size meatballs by pinching off small amounts of the meat, a little smaller than a teaspoon. You can make them larger, but the mouth appeal is so much better when they are tiny.
Once your soup is gently boiling, add in your meatballs. Those teensy ones you just lovingly formed.
Return to a simmer, they will “float” to the top when they are finished cooking, about 2-4 minutes. Once they float, you may remove them with a slotted spoon to a plate in order to boil your pasta, however; I have done both, removed them and cooked my pasta and left the meatballs in and cooked my pasta, I have never noticed a difference. Just make sure you are back to a nice rolling boil before you add your pasta, regardless of how you do it.
Add your Acini de Pepe (translation: grains of pepper) or Orzo or Riso, any tiny shaped pasta works best…
Cook until almost done, about 5 minutes (or according to the package directions), if you removed your meatballs, return them to the broth mixture when your pasta is a minute away from being done. Return to a simmer.
Adjust seasonings as needed. Sprinkle a little Parmesan or Romano cheese on the top, serve with a crusty loaf of bread and enjoy!
TIP #3: If you double the recipe for leftovers, store in cup sized storage containers for easy lunches or snacks. Before reheating, add a little extra stock, water or broth as the pasta will swell upon refrigeration taking up more of the broth base.
I’d love to hear your thoughts if you make it, please leave a comment about it!
- MEATBALL MIXTURE:
- ½ lb ground beef
- ½ lb mild Italian sausage (If making GF choose a GF Italian Sausage, I like Boulder Sausage)
- 1 egg
- ½ cup breadcrumbs, unseasoned (if making GF use GF breadcrumbs)
- 3 Tablespoons grated Parmesan or Romano cheese
- 2 Tablespoons grated onion
- ½ - 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon pepper
- BROTH BASE:
- 2 32 oz cartons Chicken Stock (if using a broth, before adding below seasonings taste broth)
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 5-6 shakes celery salt
- ½ - 1 teaspoon salt (to taste)
- ½ teaspoon pepper (optional)
- ⅔ cup Acini de Pepe, Riso or Orzo (any tiny pasta) (Substitute GF Pasta if making GF, Dalallo makes a nice GF Orzo)
- Romano or Parmesan for serving (optional)
- Combine the meatball ingredients well, get your hands in there!
- Shape into tiny meatballs, about the size of a teaspoon.
- If doubling or tripling the recipe, form into logs about 8" long by 2" in diameter.
- Roll tightly in plastic wrap, parchment or wax paper.
- Transfer logs to gallon freezer bag for future use, getting out as much air as possible.
- In a 3 qt pot, pour in the stock (make sure it's gluten free if using this option) and bring to a simmer. If using a stock season with seasonings recommended. If using a broth, taste your broth ahead of time so you don't over-season the broth.
- Once simmering, add in tiny meatballs, simmer a few minutes until they float to the surface, about 2-4 minutes.
- May remove meatballs with slotted spoon to a plate or keep them in while boiling your pasta, your preference.
- Return to simmer.
- Add the tiny pasta and boil for time recommended on package.
- If you removed the meatballs, add them back in and return to a simmer.
- Add additional seasoning if needed.
- Add a few teaspoons of fresh grated or shaved Parmesan or Romano cheese as a garnish.
- Serve immediately.
- Serve with a warm, crusty loaf of bread.
- Delicious for lunch or dinner.