This soup is a delicious alternative to Chicken noodle soup. We’ve enjoyed it at several Italian restaurants and I thought I’d try to duplicate it at home.
Here’s the recipe I came up with. You can easily double it to serve 10-12 people.
- 10 cups home made or purchased low sodium Chicken broth, divided
- Italian style meatballs (recipe follows)
- 1 cup sliced carrots
- 1 cup uncooked Orzo (rice shaped pasta)
- large handful of chopped kale or spinach
- the rind of a piece of fresh parmesan (if available)*
- several large leaves coarsely chopped fresh basil
For the Italian Style Meatballs:
- 1 cup fine breadcrumbs
- 1 large egg
- 1/4 cup milk
- 1/4 cup beef broth
- 1/2 lb. lean ground beef
- 1/2 lb. ground pork
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1/4 tsp. Montreal Steak Spice
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh Basil
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
- 1/3 cup grated Romano cheese
- Mix breadcrumbs, milk, beef broth and egg together.
- Add ground beef, ground pork and remaining ingredients.
- Form into small meatballs. (about 3/4”) I use a tablespoon to measure the amount for each meatball.
- Cook meatballs 10 at a time in 2 cups of chicken broth. This will only take a few minutes for each batch. Cut one in half to see if it is done.
- In another pot, cook sliced carrots until just tender.
- Cook orzo in a separate pot of boiling water until “al dente”. (do not overcook)
- Add cheese rind to chicken broth in a large soup pot and bring to a boil.
- Turn heat down to a simmer and add meatballs, cooked carrots, cooked orzo pasta and chopped kale and basil.
- Heat until kale is wilted.
- Serve with a sprinkle of grated parmesan and chopped basil if desired.
As with any soup recipe this one can be adapted to your taste. Some like it with garlic added to the broth. I’ve also seen it made with different leafy greens (arugula, curly endive, escarole)
Making the small meatballs is the tedious part of this recipe but you can prepare and cook them ahead of time and refrigerate them. The carrots and orzo can also be cooked ahead of time so they are all ready when you assemble the soup.
*I’ve noticed from my reading that Italians often add the rind or heal of Parmesan cheese to their soups. This not only uses up that last bit of cheese but adds flavour to the soup. And, it’s a a delicious mouthful if the melted cheese turns up in your bowl.