Meatball Spinach Pasta Soup
Meatball Spinach Pasta Soup

This recipe comes courtesy of Ron Merlin, a voracious blogger and respected foodie who also has a talent for photographing his creations -

Every once in a while, I just go out to the kitchen, and kinda make it up and sometimes I come in from the kitchen, after just having thrown away my "creation", but I learn from it.

But here's the deal. Every once in a while, I go out to the kitchen, and kinda make it up, and I hit a home run.

And this time I did.  It's kind of an Italian Wedding Soup theme, but man, this soup just rocked. And you don't have to take my word for it. 5 people tried it, loved it, and two guys I work with tried it and raved.

I'm calling it Meatball Spinach Pasta Soup. OK?

So I'm pleased to share and it's nice to come out of the kitchen, with something you want to share. Ya know?

Just imagine a warm fragrant chicken broth, with a touch of Italian spice, the depth of onion, garlic, and leeks, the sweetness of tomato, chewiness of the pasta and the fall apart tender meatballs who have their own seasonings, and then you get the spinach and dill that roll over your tongue, balanced by a generous sprinkling of grated Parmesan/Reggiano cheese.

Ingredients

6 - 10 Italian style meatballs, par-cooked for 10 minutes to render some fat

3 tablespoons olive oil

1 large sweet onion, diced

3 garlic cloves, minced

2 medium leeks, washed and thinly chopped (white and pale green part only)

5 cups chicken stock (or a cup or two more if it's not enough)

1 tablespoon fresh, chopped oregano

1 tablespoon fresh, chopped basil

1 400g can diced tomatoes with puree

1 tablespoon salt (add more as needed for taste)

1 tablespoon pepper (add more as needed for taste)

1 cup prepared al dente pasta (elbow macaroni, rigatoni, or any tubular pasta)

2 cups chopped fresh spinach

2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill, or one tablespoon dried

grated parmesan/reggiano cheese

Method

Heat a large pot or cooker over medium heat and add olive oil.  Saute onion and leeks until onions "sweat" and become translucent and add garlic and saute for three minutes more. Add stock, oregano, basil, can of diced tomatoes, salt and pepper, and meatballs. If stock doesn't cover the contents by at least an inch, add more. Turn heat to medium high and watch until it begins to boil. Immediately turn heat down to medium low, cover and simmer for 90 minutes.

Remove lid and add the cooked pasta, spinach and dill. Stir a bit until spinach completely wilts, and dill is incorporated. Slowly season to taste with salt and pepper. What I mean is, do a little of each, stir, let soak in, and then taste again before adding more. It's so easy to oversalt. I've done it more than a few times, and should know better. Turn off the heat and allow to steep for 10 minutes.

Ladle into bowls with one or two meatballs, sprinkle with parmesan/reggiano and enjoy!


Looking for an easy camp bread to go with this recipe? Try making - Naan.




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