My Version Of Italian Wedding Soup

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There are days when it’s so cold outside that you feel like you might not make it from the car to your front door without obtaining a bit of frostbite.  These are the days that soup feels entirely perfect and comforting for dinner.  But can soup be considered a main dish?  When soup is placed on the table and my son and wife ask, “What’s for dinner?”  My response is, … some soups are meant to be main dishes.  This is one of them.”  And it is!  This soup is full of meatballs, pasta and vegetables.

Meatballs:
 
1 lb of lean ground beef
1 egg beaten
4 cloves of garlic minced
2/3 cup of fresh bread crumbs
3 tbs of milk
1/2 cup of parmesan cheese
a dash of salt and pepper
 
Soup:
 
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 cup minced onion
1 cup diced carrots (about 3 medium)
1 cup diced celery (about 2 large stalks)
10 cups chicken broth
1 32 oz of crushed tomatoes
1 cup small pasta (I use ditalini pasta)
1/4 cup minced fresh dill
1 frozed bag of spinach or kale (either works well)
extra Parmesan cheese, for serving
 
Directions:
 
Prepare the meatballs:  Place ground beef, bread crumbs, garlic, parsley, Parmesan, milk, egg, 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper in a bowl and combine gently with a fork. With a teaspoon, drop 1-inch meatballs onto a sheet pan lined with parchment paper. 
 
Prepare the soup:  Heat olive oil over medium-low heat in a large stock pot. Add onion, carrots, and celery and saute until softened, 5 to 6 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the chicken broth and bring to a boil. Add pasta to the simmering broth and cook an additional 6 to 8 minutes, until the pasta is tender. Add the fresh dill and then the meatballs to the soup and simmer for 1 minute. Taste for salt and pepper. Stir in spinach and cook for 1 minute, until spinach is just wilted. Ladle into soup bowls and sprinkle each serving with extra grated Parmesan cheese.

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