Italian Wedding Soup with Kale
Typical of Oregon spring weather . . . the sky can't decide on a blisteringly hot sunny day or wind and grey overcast. After a week of being able to embrace flip flops and sleeveless shirts, things are right back to layers and extra blankets. It's not all bad, of course, because cooler evenings mean soup nights! The heavy cream soups of mid-winter have definitely given way to something a bit lighter but equally as soul-warming. I came up with this version of Italian Wedding Soup to include spring's bounty of kale with flavorful turkey meatballs and fresh herbs. Enjoy!
- 1 lb. ground turkey
- 1/2 c. dried breadcrumbs
- 1 egg
- 6 fresh basil leaves, diced
- 4 Tbsp. chopped Italian parsley, divided
- 1 onion, half grated and half diced
- salt and pepper
- 2 carrots, peeled and diced
- 2 celery stalks, diced
- 2 qts. chicken broth
- 1 bunch of kale, stems removed and leaves roughly chopped
- 3/4 c. dried ditalini, orzo, or other small shaped pasta
- 1 Parmesan rind plus extra grated Parmesan cheese for sprinkling
- olive oil for frying
In a medium mixing bowl, combine ground turkey, egg, breadcrumbs, basil, 2 Tbsp. Italian parsley, grated onion, 1 tsp. salt, and 1/2 tsp. ground pepper. Use hands to knead mixture together until thoroughly combined. Form about 16 or so 2" meatballs with hands and set aside on a plate. Meanwhile, heat 4 Tbsp. of olive oil in a medium skillet over medium high. Add the meatballs in batches and brown on all sides. Do not overcrowd the pan and add more oil as needed to keep meatballs from sticking.
Handle the meatballs carefully with a pair of tongs. Remove from oil when they are nicely browned and drain on a paper towel-lined plate. The meatballs don't need to be cooked through as they will finish cooking in the boiling soup. When the meatballs are finished browning, add the chopped onions to the remaining oil in the pan and cook over medium heat until they begin to soften and turn translucent, about 5 minutes. Add carrots and celery to the onions and cook an additional 5 minutes. Scrape any browned bits of turkey from the bottom of the pan and sprinkle cooking vegetables with salt and pepper.
Meanwhile, bring chicken broth to a boil over high heat in a large soup pot or Dutch oven. When the onions, carrots, and celery are softened and fragrant add to boiling broth with any remaining oil or brown bits from pan. Add kale, Parmesan rind, remaining Italian parsley, and browned meatballs to the broth. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer for 15 minutes. Remove cover and add pasta to the soup, stir ingredients to combine. Continue boiling soup for an additional 8-9 minutes until the pasta is al dente. Season soup to taste with salt and pepper. Remove from heat and serve with grated Parmesan cheese. Yummy!