Italian Wedding Soup
best. soup. ever.. I'm Italian and I've had many versions of this soup. This is the best and easiest recipe ever...SO satisfying with a hunk of crusty bread. You HAVE to use the crushed fennel. I'm not a huge fan of fennel but it MAKES this recipe. Thank you for a great meal! — Lisa K.
Servings6 to 8 servings
- TINY MEATBALLS:
- 1 package (19 ounce) JOHNSONVILLE® Mild Italian Sausage Links (or Ground Italian Sausage), removed from casing* (*Cut sausage link end to end, about three-quarters of the way through. Flip sausage link over, grasp casing and pull off.)
- 1 egg, lightly beaten
- 1 cup bread crumbs (plain or seasoned)
- 2 teaspoons fennel seeds, crushed or chopped
- 1 tablespoon fresh Italian parsley, minced
- 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 medium onion, finely diced
- 1 teaspoon dried or fresh thyme
- 1 teaspoon dried sage leaves
- 2 cloves garlic, finely minced
- 1 medium carrot, finely chopped
- 1 stalk celery, finely chopped
- 8 cups chicken stock
- 1 bay leaf
- 8 ounces orzo pasta, cooked
- 1 cup spinach, roughly chopped
- 1/3 cup Parmesan cheese, shredded
- Mix meatball ingredients together and roll small meatballs the size of a marble. (If forming the meatball is difficult, cover and refrigerate first.)
- In a medium pan, cook orzo al dente, according to package directions, drain and set aside.
- Prep the vegetables.
- In a large pot, sauté onion, thyme and sage in olive oil. When the onion starts to turn a golden color, add garlic, carrot and celery, and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Set the vegetable mixture aside on a plate.
- In the same pot, add all the meatballs and cook for 2 to 3 minutes before stirring. (This will keep them from breaking). Gently toss with a rubber spatula to brown on all sides.
- Add reserved vegetables, chicken stock and bay leaf. Simmer gently (do not boil), until vegetables are tender and meatballs are cooked through.
- Add cooked orzo and spinach, stir together. (Adding spinach right before serving will help it maintain its rich green color).
- Garnish soup bowls with Parmesan cheese.