Italian Wedding Soup with Parmesan Soup Cubes
- For the soup
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 stalk celery, finely chopped
- 1 carrot, peeled and finely chopped
- 1 small onion, peeled and finely chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 bay leaves
- 6 cups chicken stock
- 1 chicken boullion cube
- 3/4 cup small pasta (I used orzo, but any shape would work)
- 5 cups of leafy greens (I used spinach but kale, chard or escarole would work. In a pinch, you could substitute frozen spinach)
- salt and pepper, to taste
- For the meatballs
- 1/4 cup breadcrumbs
- 3 tablespoons milk
- 1 egg, beaten
- 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
- 1 tablespoon grated parmesan cheese
- freshly ground pepper
- 9 oz ground meat (I used half ground beef and half ground pork)
- Parmesan Soup Cubes
- 2 eggs, beaten
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh Italian parsley
- 3/4 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
- 1/8 cup flour
- freshly ground pepper
Make the meatballs
Combine the breadcrumbs and milk in a medium-sized bowl. Add the egg, Italian seasoning, parmesan cheese, and a few cracks of fresh pepper and stir to combine. Add the ground meat and mix well.
Roll the meat mixture into miniature meatballs, about 1/2 inch in diameter.
Cover and store in the refrigerator until ready to use.
Make the soup
Heat the olive oil in a heavy-bottom skillet over medium heat.
Add the celery, carrot, onion, garlic, and bay leaves. Add a dash of salt and a few cracks of fresh pepper. Sautee until the onions become translucent, about 8 minutes.
Add the chicken stock and the boullion cube and bring to a boil. Add the meatballs a few at a time, raising the heat to maintain a low boil. Stir gently as you add the meatballs so they don't get stuck to the bottom of the pot. Cover and simmer for 15-20 minutes, until the meatballs are cooked through. You can make the soup ahead to this point and refrigerate, if necessary.
20 minutes before serving
Bring the soup up to a simmer if you refrigerated it. Add the greens and the pasta. Cover and simmer until the pasta is cooked, stirring occasionally so the pasta doesn't stick to the bottom of the pot (cooking time will vary based on what kind of pasta you use). Add salt and pepper to taste.
Pass the parmesan soup cubes at the table for people to add to their own bowl.
Make the parmesan cubes:
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.
Mix the eggs, baking powder, parsley and a few cracks of fresh pepper in a medium bowl. Add the cheese, stirring well to combine. Add flour and mix well. It should be the consistency of a thick batter. If it's too thing, add more flour 1 tablespoon at a time.
Grease a small baking dish of about 24 square inches (mine was a 4x6 inch glass dish, but anything close to that will work). Pour the batter into the dish.
Bake until the batter has set and the top becomes a light golden brown color, about 30 minutes.
Turn out of the dish and let cool on a cooling rack. When cool, cut into small cubes and store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.