It’s sometimes difficult for me to think up fresh healthy meal ideas when my store produce is looking so glum. That’s when I head to Southern California food blogs like Esi’s at Dishing Up Delights. She’s almost always cooking up something beautiful and green at any time of year.
The only fresh item I bought for this soup, besides the spinach and holy trinity of carrot, celery, and onion, was some pathetic looking dill. I opened the little herb box when I got home and took a big whiff. A big whiff of nothing! Dill isn’t a winter herb in Northern Idaho obviously, and wherever it came from was much to far away for it to retain its vitality.
The moral of the story for me is, don’t succumb to the temptation to purchase fresh herbs in January when dried ones work just fine.
Italian Wedding Soup
1 pound ground pork or chicken
1/4 pound hot Italian chicken sausage, casings removed
1/4 cup panko bread crumbs (Or make your own in a food processor with leftover bread)
2 teaspoons fresh garlic pressed through a garlic press, or finely minced
2 teaspoons dried parsley leaves
2 tablespoons freshly grated or dried Parmesan
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1/4 teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees or to 325 degrees convection if you have it, preferably. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil
2. In a bowl lightly all the ingredients with a fork or with your hands. Scoop with a cookie scoop and shape lightly with your hands into 1 to 1 ¼ inch balls. Place the balls on the cookie sheet.
3. Bake for 30 minutes, until cooked through and lightly browned. Set aside.
Soup3 tablespoon olive oil
1 small yellow onion, diced
1 cup diced carrots, cut into ¼ inch pieces
1/2 cup diced celery, cut into ¼ inch pieces
¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
½ teaspoon onion powder
¼ teaspoon garlic powder
5 cups chicken or turkey broth
3 to 4 cups water
¼ cup dry white wine
1/2 cup Acini di pepe, or other very small pasta
2 tablespoons minced fresh dill, or 2 teaspoons dried
1 (6 ounce) bag baby spinach, roughly chopped
Salt & Pepper to taste
Freshly grated or dried Parmesan for garnish
1. In the meantime, heat the olive oil over medium heat in a large heavy-bottomed soup pot. Add the onion, carrots, celery, red pepper flakes, onion powder, and garlic powder and sauté until softened, 5 to 6 minutes, stirring occasionally.
2. Add the wine and bring to a boil, reduce by half. Next, add the broth and water and bring back to a boil. Then add the pasta and cook for 9 minutes.
3. Add the dill and meatballs to the soup and simmer for 2 minutes. Add spinach and cook for 1 minute, until the spinach is just wilted. Then season with salt and pepper to taste.
4. Ladle into bowls and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese if desired.
Adapted from Esi @ Dishing Up Delights & Ina Garten. Picture by Laura Flowers.