The cold has really started to set in here in Chicago! I grew up in Boston and went to school in Michigan, so I'm no stranger to the cold, but somehow 3 winters in DC has made me a little unprepared for the cold. I've been wearing what was my DC-winter coat for two weeks already! And it's only getting colder from here... I can't complain too much though, it is October. But seriously, when did that happen? Wasn't it August like, yesterday?
A quick note: I wrote this post about a week ago, when it was still 40 or 50 degrees outside. Since then, we've had a couple of really gorgeous days (today it might even hit 80!) and I have been so appreciative. But there is no denying that the cold weather is coming back and there will be much more soup to come!!
Anyways, there is one great thing about the colder weather. It's soup season!!! I have been on a bit of a mini meatball kick for a few weeks now. It started when I had a sudden urge to make rigatoni with mini meatballs a few weeks ago (and yeah, that was amazing) and is continuing with this soup. The only thing I don't like about mini meatballs is rolling all of them. It takes forever and my hands get so dried out with meat. If you have kids, this is where I recommend bringing them into the kitchen and putting them to work!! (Or sending them over to me, I'll put them to work! Just be sure to take them home with you after, please.)
I never used to be a huge kale fan, but I like it a lot in this soup! If you buy it at Trader Joe's, it's already washed and perfectly cut for this soup. However, they give you more than you need in a bag, so use only like half a bag. It wilts down, but not so much. Just use your best judgement.
The first soup of the season was a tasty one! The Monkey Scientist said, "That's a good soup!" I liked that it had so many components - vegetables, pasta, and savory meatballs. It is leaps and bounds above the canned Italian wedding soup, which in my opinion isn't even worth eating. If you like this soup, be sure to check out my Mini Chicken Meatball soup. It's similar and delicious in it's own way!
Italian Wedding Soupadapted from Tracey's Culinary Adventures
Ingredients12 c low-sodium chicken broth (I made my own!)
4 carrots, cut into 1/2-inch dice
1 tbsp (about 3 cloves) minced garlic, divided
1 bunch (half TJ's bag) kale, stems removed, leaves cut into thin strips
1/2 c grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, plus more for serving
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 c Panko bread crumbs
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
5-6 dashes worcestershire sauce
1 lb ground turkey
2 tbsp olive oil
1 1/2 c ditalini pasta (or other small shape)
Instructions1. Preheat the oven to 350F and line 2 large baking sheets with foil. Brush with olive oil.
2. In a large Dutch oven, combine chicken broth, carrots, garlic, and kale. Cover and bring to a boil over medium-high heat, then lower and simmer 30-40 minutes until the carrots are tender.
3. Combine the cheese, eggs, bread crumbs, salt, pepper, red pepper flakes, and worcestershire in a medium bowl. Add meat and combine with your hands but don't overmix. Roll into 1" balls and line along the cooking sheet. Drizzle over the top of the meatballs with olive oil. Bake 15-20 minutes, or until cooked through.
4. When the carrots are tender and the meatballs are still cooking, add the pasta to the Dutch oven and cook 10 minutes (or according to package instructions). Turn off the heat and, once cooked, add the meatballs to the soup.
5. Serve immediately, topped with extra Parmigiano-Reggiano.