Weeknight Italian Wedding Soup

“Weeknight Italian Wedding Soup” is a hearty, comforting dish perfect for busy evenings. This soup, a classic Italian-American creation, features a rich, savory broth often made with chicken or beef stock. It’s imbued with the robust flavors of herbs like oregano, basil, and perhaps a hint of thyme, creating a fragrant aroma that fills the kitchen.

The soup’s signature components are the small, tender meatballs, traditionally a blend of ground meat like beef, pork, or chicken, seasoned with garlic, Parmesan cheese, breadcrumbs, and Italian herbs. These meatballs are bite-sized, cooked to perfection, ensuring they’re juicy and flavorful.

Another key ingredient is leafy greens, usually curly endive or escarole, adding a lovely bitterness and texture to the soup. Some variations might include spinach or kale for a different twist. The greens wilt beautifully in the hot broth, contributing to the soup’s rich color palette of deep greens and browns.

To add heartiness and texture, small pasta shapes, such as acini di pepe, orzo, or even small shells, are cooked directly in the soup. These pastas absorb the flavors of the broth and meatballs, becoming tender and delicious.

To finish, the soup is often garnished with freshly grated Parmesan cheese, adding a nutty, salty depth to the flavor profile. A squeeze of lemon juice might be added for a touch of brightness, complementing the rich and savory elements.

This soup is a perfect balance of flavors and textures, with the meatballs providing a satisfying chew, the pasta offering a tender bite, and the greens bringing a subtle bitterness. The broth ties everything together, making each spoonful a delightful experience. It’s a meal that’s both comforting and nourishing, ideal for a cozy weeknight dinner.

Ingredients :

6 oz 99% fat free ground turkey breast
2 tablespoons plain bread crumbs
5 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese, divided
¾ teaspoon Italian seasoning
1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
1 large egg white
1 tablespoon skim milk
1 tablespoon olive oil, divided
½ cup diced onion
2 medium carrots, grated or diced (I use my Pampered Chef Food Chopper and it only takes 30 seconds to dice them all!)
2 garlic cloves, minced
Salt and black pepper, to taste
64 oz 99% fat free, reduced sodium chicken broth
½ cup uncooked whole wheat orzo
2 cups thinly sliced raw kale

Preparation :

In a large bowl, combine the ground turkey, garlic powder, one tablespoon of the grated Parmesan, breadcrumbs, Italian seasoning, egg white and milk. Using your hands (or a spoon), mush all the ingredients together until well combined. Roll meat mixture into 30 separate (3/4” – 1”) mini meatballs.
In a large stock pot (or a large skillet, but if you cook these in the pot you can totally use one pot for the entire meal and have one less to wash!), bring 2 teaspoons of the olive oil over medium heat. Add the meatballs to the oil and cook them, stirring occasionally until all sides are browned. Remove meatballs to a dish and set aside.
Add the remaining teaspoon of olive oil to the pot and continue to heat to medium. Add the carrots, onion and garlic and sprinkle with salt & pepper. Cook for about 4 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until vegetables are softened.
Add the chicken broth to the vegetables in the stock pot and cover. Bring to a boil and then uncover to add the meatballs, remaining 4 tablespoons (1/4 cup) of Parmesan, orzo and kale. Stir to combine and make sure the soup is at a boil. Re-cover the pot and return heat to medium to simmer. Cook for about 15 minutes until the orzo and meatballs are cooked through.

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