This past week I had a can of Campbell's all-Natural Italian Wedding Soup for lunch and while it was edible, I decided that surely I could make it better from scratch. I happened to have a pound of ground beef, so I gave it a try this week. Now I will say that I wouldn't make this unless you had a fair amount of time to make it as the individual parts don't take that long, but putting all together does. I based it off this recipe I found on the internet, and tweaked it a bit to suit my purposes. I've always been a "follow the recipe exactly" devotee, so branching out was new for me, but it ended up working. I judged a lot of ingredients by eye, what looked good to me when it went in, so please adjust according to taste. Pretty much all of the ingredients except for the meatballs can be made ahead of time, if you want. The original recipe called for making the pasta and meatballs in the broth, but I did everything separately and the mixed together at the end.
Italian Wedding Soup
1 pound lean ground beef
1/4 cup seasoned dried bread crumbs, plus more if your meatballs are too wet
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
1 tsp Italian seasoning
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder
7-8 cups chicken broth
1/3 - 1/2 bag frozen spinach (you can also use fresh spinach)
1/3 bag dry DaVinci twists pasta (can use any kind of pasta: seashells, gemelli, acino di pepe, orzo etc)
Defrost spinach and set aside. Make broth, put in a large pot, and set aside. Make meatballs by combining beef, eggs, bread crumbs, Parmesan, and seasonings in a bowl and mix. I found it easier for me to mix by hand but you can use a spatula or mixer as well. Separate meatball mixture into small meatballs, about half the size of regular meatballs. Remember that the smaller they are, the quicker they cook. Put a little oil in a pan and pan fry them until they are cooked, and put in paper towels to get rid of excess oil and set aside. Cook pasta, drain and set aside. Get pot with broth and put in spinach and pasta and set to medium-low heat to warm it up. Add meatballs when finished cooking and make sure everything is warmed through, about 15 minutes or until you think it is done. Soup can be served with extra Parmesan on top. Entire soup takes at least 1.5 hrs.