The credit for this recipe goes to none other than Rachel Ray. Like the cheesy chicken chowder, it's a quick-cooking soup, (30 minutes in fact :-)) so you don't have to start making it hours before you can serve it. (Also, the picture above doesn't really do it justice. It has been so overcast here I couldn't use natural light, so had to use the flash.)
Meatball and Macaroni Soup
3 carrots, peeled and chopped
2 ribs celery, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
2 bay leaves
kosher salt and pepper
½ pound ground beef
½ pound ground pork
1 egg, beaten
2 cloves garlic, minced
½ cup grated parmesan cheese
½ cup bread crumbs
½ tsp. freshly grated or ground nutmeg
8 cups chicken broth
2 cups water
1 ½ cups macaroni (or use any kind you have left over, I used broken fettucine)
½ bag triple-washed fresh spinach, coarsely chopped
1) In a deep pot over medium heat, add carrots, celery, onions and bay leaves with a bit of olive oil. Season with salt and pepper and cook veggies until soft, about 5 minutes.
2) While the veggies cook, combine the ground meats, egg, garlic, parmesan, bread crumbs, nutmeg, with 1 tsp. salt and ½ tsp. pepper in a separate bowl.
3) Add broth and water to the pot of veggies, increasing heat to high and bring soup to a boil, then reduce heat and start to roll meatball mixture into small balls, dropping them straight into the pot.
4) When you are done rolling the meatballs, add pasta to the soup and stir. Cover and simmer soup for 10 minutes.
5) When pasta is tender, stir in chopped spinach. When spinach is wilted, the soup is done and ready to serve.
My apologies to all you readers who don't eat beef or pork. You could probably substitute ground turkey in these meatballs. The nutmeg and parmesan in the meatballs flavor the broth while they're cooking and the spinach adds just a bit of texture. Even Jeff said while eating this soup, "this might be the first time I ever enjoyed cooked spinach". But if you absolutely hate spinach, you can skip it because it is difficult to fish it out later--it floats around the top of the soup, and therefore wants to be included in every bite.
Also, the recipe does make a lot of meatballs. When I was rolling, I kept thinking it would be way too many. But I found that when eating, you do kind of want some meat in every bite, so it turned out okay.
Yumm-o. (Dangit Rachel Ray and your weird phrases, but somehow I couldn't resist)