Fast Italian Wedding Soup

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I am on a continued mission to get my children to enjoy soup. Will flat out refuses, Em can be coerced occasionally, and Matty is game for anything that involves eating.  I just so love making soup – it is a fast, easy and inexpensive meal that is the perfect vehicle for lots of veggies, proteins that need to be used up, etc.

In culinary school one of my biggest take aways was seasoning properly with salt and pepper. Especially salt. And when it comes to soup, this is something that can elevate your final creation several notches – simply by achieving the correct balance of seasoning. The other crucial counterbalance is acid – I start getting serious anxiety when I don’t have lemons in the house. I use lemons every day – for lemon water, for squeezing over salads, adding to salad dressings, over veggies, chicken – you name it.

italweddingsoup2 (1 of 1)

I mention this because the simplicity of a good soup is deceiving. Without the right balance of salt and acid it can fall flat. In this soup, the tomatoes add enough acidity to balance. But to find your salt threshold what you need to do is at the end taste, then slowly add some pinches of salt – stir, taste. When you get to the right point the flavors will totally come alive in your mouth. If you add too much salt – just add some water. Easy fix, which is why soup is a perfect canvas to work on your salting.

This soup was devoured by the adults at the play date I brought it to, tried and enjoyed be half of the children and refused by the others. Emilie took a bite and looked at me in surprise, declaring it very good. High marks from my little queen.

Pesto really brings this soup alive. I remember when I was in college totally digging the Progresso Italian Wedding Soup – tiny meatballs get me every time. Now, I can’t imagine cracking open a can of soup – in the time it takes to do that and heat it up,  you can be halfway done with a home made version!

Tip: to prevent cross contamination, keep the sausage right in their package and do all the work for them in there – just slice down middle and grab little chunks to make the meatballs.

ital saus meatballs for soup (1 of 1)

Fast Italian Wedding Soup
Ingredients
  • 1 package sweet italian turkey sausage (chickpeas would be great substitute to make it vegetarian)
  • olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 grated carrots
  • 1-2 cloves garlic finely chopped
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 box of chopped tomatoes (Pomi brand is great)
  • 1 1/4 cups whole wheat israeli (pearl) couscous – or other small pasta (use gluten-free pasta if desired)
  • 1 bag (6oz) of baby spinach
  • pesto for serving
Instructions
  1. Two pans – one skillet for meatballs and one large pot for soup on the stove.
  2. Slice the sausages down the middle and take the meat out of the casings and make little meatballs (see pic above).
  3. In skillet, over medium to medium high heat, saute meatballs in few tablespoons olive oil. Keep turning them so brown on all sides.
  4. While that is happening, heat up the large pot over medium high heat and add few tablespoons of olive oil. Dump in chopped onions, carrots and garlic. Salt and pepper all this. Cook, stirring occasionally, until start to soften.
  5. Add box of tomatoes – juice and all – then fill that box up with water and add that. Time to toss in the pearl/israeli couscous or other small pasta.
  6. Bring to a boil and then turn down just a bit. Cook about 10-15 minutes until pasta is done.
  7. Stir in meatballs and spinach. Add more water to reach the desired consistency – some like a thick stew like soup, while others prefer a more thinned out one. Do whatever your heart desires! Taste and season with salt and pepper.

 

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