Sunday, January 15, 2012

Italian Wedding Soup

My husband and I celebrated our wedding anniversary this past week, so I decided to make Italian Wedding Soup to recognize our special day! I had considered using the "Italian Style" sausage from Smart Sausage, but I wanted something a bit spicier.  I think you could definitely use the Smart Sausage brand if you were looking to make a really quick version of Italian Wedding Soup, but since it was our anniversary, I decided to put in the extra effort, and make up the sausage myself.

I did cheat a bit, as I used Gimme Lean’s ground sausage style as a base, and then added my own spices and allowed them to mingle amongst themselves for a day before shaping into balls for the soup. Gimme Lean’s spices are pretty mild and were easily overpowered by the Italian spices I added, and I was able to get the spiciness I wanted without spending a week in the kitchen trying to reinvent the wheel, so to speak.

As you can see in my pictures, I decided to add some carrots at the last minute, after I had already taken pictures of the ingredients. I wanted a little more color! Add them if you like, or not. Emma and I also brainstormed this week in order to clarify her soup ratings, and she has come up with this rating scale (below), to help you understand what she means when she rates something, The Italian Wedding Soup is another ♥♥♥♥♥ for Emma, which was an absolute shocker for me. I was afraid she would refuse to even try it! But she says she loved it, and it has been her favorite soup so far. Maybe I should have done this years ago! Now she is actually trying new foods rather than turning up her nose and heading for the cereal boxes.

Emma Soup Ratings:

♥                      No way I am eating this! I am making a bowl of cereal.
♥♥                   Uhhhh, it’s okay….but…no.
♥♥♥                 Mehh, maybe just a small bowl.
♥♥♥♥               I like this. Make it again soon.
♥♥♥♥♥            This is “Soupilicious “ (her word)! I could eat this every day!

Now on to the soup -

                                                           Italian Wedding Soup
                                                          Emma Rating:  ♥♥♥♥♥

Serves 6

Ingredients Lists-

            Sausage Ingredients (make in advance):
1 ½ pkg Gimme Lean ground sausage
1 tbsp minced garlic
½ tbsp. paprika
½ tsp fennel seeds
½ tbsp. sea salt
½ tbsp. fresh black pepper
½ tsp cayenne pepper
½ tsp ground anise
1 tbsp fresh Italian parsley, chopped
1 ½ tbsp. dry red wine

Mix all ingredients together with a fork and refrigerate, until you are ready to prepare soup (I made mine the night before).

            Soup Ingredients:
            1 tbsp olive oil
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
            1 cup white onion, finely chopped
            1-2 carrots, chopped
            2 1/2 cups low sodium vegetable broth
            10-12 oz fresh baby spinach, cut into strips
            1 cup orzo pasta (or other small pasta)
            About 80 3/4” “Italian sausage meatballs”

Step 1: Roll the sausage into about 3/4” diameter balls. Place on a cookie sheet and bake at 275° until browned, about 15-20 minutes.

Step 2: While the meatballs are baking, heat the olive oil in a heavy pot. Add your garlic and onion and cook on low until onions are soft. Add baby spinach and cook for about a minute. Then add vegetable broth and simmer in pot for about 40 minutes.

Step 3: Return soup to a boil, add orzo and meatballs. Cook until pasta is done, about 10 minutes.