Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Italian Wedding Soup

The night before our wedding anniversary, I made this Italian Wedding Soup.  It is light, but warm and comforting.  Just right for a cold night cuddled on the couch with my hubby.  I am pretty sure that I made the whole thing from start to finish in 20 minutes, and I'm not the speediest cook on the planet (or even in my family!)  But using a few shortcuts, that didn't take away from the flavor, made all of the difference and even led to a gorgeous Pasta e Fagioli with some of the leftover ingredients.  Plus - the combined expense for both soups was minimal and we are enjoying them and as always sharing with friends and family! So, we will start with the Italian Wedding Soup...

Italian Wedding Soup
3 Tablespoons of Butter
1 Carrot
1 Onion
2 Tablespoons of Flour
1 Container of Chicken Broth
3 Cups of Water
1 Bag of Frozen Italian Meatballs (we used Publix brand)
1 Cup Large (Israeli) Cous Cous or Pearl Pasta
1 Bag of Fresh Spinach
Salt and Pepper to taste

In a large stock pot, melt the butter over Medium - Low heat

While butter is melting, chop the carrot (it does not have to be peeled, as it will cook until soft)
Put the chopped carrot into the butter and sauté

While the carrot is cooking, chop the onion 

Add the chopped onion to the pot

Continue to sauté until the onion is a little bit translucent
Add the 2 Tablespoons of Flour to the pot and stir letting the flour absorb the butter and juices from the vegetables - takes about a minute (This helps to cook the raw taste out of the flour, and will ultimately thicken your soup to a velvety consistency)

Continue to stir while pouring in the container of Chicken Broth (You don't have chicken broth? Dissolve several chicken bouillon cubes in water as per directions and use it instead - be mindful of the salt content though)
Add the 3 cups of water and stir until the broth and water have "made friends"

Put a lid on the pot and let it simmer while you take 1/2 of the bag of meatballs and put them on a cutting board. (We've got BIG plans for the second half of the bag, so put it back in the freezer)
Cut the meatballs in half, or in quarters, or not at all if you choose.  
Place the meatballs in the pot with the broth and vegetables and stir.

If the water is not simmering, turn up the heat.  
When it reaches a gentle boil add 1 cup of the Large Cous Cous and reduce the heat to low.
Leaving the pot uncovered, stir occasionally for 10 minutes.

Now - take 1/2 the bag of fresh spinach and just dump it into the pot (Reserve the other half, because we have BIG plans for that one too!)
Stir the spinach into the soup

Put the lid on the pot
Turn off the heat
This is where the magic happens...wait about 5 minutes and remove the lid and stir.  

We served this with fresh apples and crudités (chopped raw or blanched vegetables) along with the fresh ranch dressing (see earlier post) and the most beautiful garlic bread that my husband made while we hung out in the kitchen and cooked together.  

Things to know...Those cute little Cous Cous will continue to draw liquid and the soup will get thick. If reheating for lunch the second day - be sure to add a little water.

Now...wait until you see what we did (lightning quickly) with the other half of the bag of meatballs and spinach!

Totally my Mamas recipe! Is she italian? Nope, but she is an amazing cook and this recipe is one of my simple favorites.  But you're gonna hafta' wait until I get done with the Italian Wedding Soup before I can start on the Pasta Fagioli, so hang on to those meatballs and spinach! 

This was just prior to being doused with shaved parmesan cheese!

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