Tonight was Italian Wedding Soup from the Johnsonville little cookbook. This home-cooked meal takes about an hour and fifteen minutes. This serves at least six to eight, but I will tell you this will be our lunch for a few days and part of left-over night.
Ingredients (in two parts)
- 1 package (19 ounces) Johnsonville Mild Italian Sausage Links, castings removed
- 1 cup Bread Crumbs (plain or seasoned)
- 1 Egg, lightly beaten
- 1 tablespoon minced fresh Italian Parsley
- 2 teaspoons crushed fennel seeds
- 1/2 teaspoons ground red pepper (optional)
- 8 ounces uncooked Orzo Pasta
- 2 tablespoons Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
- 1 Medium Onion, finely diced
- 1 teaspoon chopped Fresh Thyme Leaves or 1/2 teaspoon Dried Thyme
- 1 teaspoon Dried Sage
- 1 Medium Carrot, finely chopped
- 1 Stalk Celery, finely chopped
- 2 Cloves Garlic, finely minced
- 8 cups Chicken Broth or Stock
- 1 Bay Leaf
- 1 cup roughly chopped Fresh Spinach
- 1/3 cup shredded Parmesan Cheese
- Combine all meatball ingredients in large bowl; mix well. Roll mixture into small marble-size meatballs. If forming meatballs is difficult, cover mixture and refrigerate until firm.
- Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain; set aside.
- Heat oil in large soup pot over over medium heat. Add onion, thyme and sage; cook and stir 5 to 7 minutes or until onion starts to turn golden. Add carrot, celery, and garlic; cook and stir 5 minutes. Transfer vegetables to plate; set aside.
- Add meatballs to soup pot; cook 2 to 3 minutes before stirring (to keep meatballs from breaking). Gently turn meatballs until browned on all sides.
- Add reserved vegetables, broth, and bay leaf. Simmer gently (do not boil), until vegetables are tender and meatballs are cooked through. Stir in cooked pasta and spinach. Sprinkle with cheese before serving.
A few notes from my cooking experience with this meal.
First, I would like to say that if you cannot find Orzo Pasta do not fret I used Arborio Rice. Depending on the directions for the Arborio Rice just remember you are just wanting to cook the rice. My husband and I will attest that Arborio were just as good as Orzo Pasta.
Second, I suggest not to fret over if the meatballs crumble or do not stay as meatballs. I noticed even with following the directions the meat still broke apart just a bit.
Third, when looking for the meat at the Grocery store, Johnsonville now has their Italian Sausage out of the casings. You will find them with all the Bratwursts and Sausages. Makes it much easier and there is one less thing to worry about.
Fourth, crushing those darn Fennel Seeds are a pain, please I suggest GTS (Google That Stuff) and see if there is a much easier way to crush them or see if you can find them pre-crushed in the Spice section at the Grocery.
Finally, the recipe says to have 19 ounces of the sausage, I will tell you the package I picked up from the store was 16 ounces and that was enough meat. So not having those three ounces will not harm the soup.
I hope this help and until next time…Happy Cooking!