1 large onion, diced
4 ribs celery, sliced (and diced)
2 medium carrots, sliced
4 cloves garlic, put through a press or minced
2 Tbs butter
2 Tbs olive oil
1/4 cup flour
1 tsp dried basil
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
3 14.5 oz. cans chicken broth (I just used 1.5 qt containers and could have gone ahead and used 2)
1 14.5 oz. can diced tomatoes, undrained
6 ounces uncooked tri-color spiral pasta (I skipped the colors)
The original recipe calls for 1 pound of boneless skinless chicken chopped into 1/2 inch pieces, but skip it in my opinion.
In a large Dutch oven, saute onion, celery, carrots, and garlic (and chicken if using) in butter an olive oil 5 minutes. Stir in flour, basil, oregano, and pepper until blended. Gradually add the broth and the tomatoes. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer 1 hour. Return to a boil, stir in pasta, reduce heat, and simmer 12-15 minutes or until pasta is tender. (My pasta said to cook 7 minutes for al denta, but I found I needed to go ~10 minutes.)
While the soup was simmering for the 1 hour, I made the many mini meatballs.
3/4 cup bread crumbs (recipe didn't specify prepared or fresh, but I only had fresh)
3 Tbs milk
1/4 cup grated parmesan
1/2 lb ground chicken
(As I'm typing this, I realize that I used 1 1/3 pounds of ground turkey. I knew I was using turkey instead of chicken, but I didn't realize I used way too much. Oops. No wonder I had so many meatballs.)
1 Tbs chopped onion
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp thyme
1/8 tsp nutmeg
In a large bowl combine bread crumbs and milk. (Had I used the right amount of meat, I think a medium bowl would have sufficed.) Add cheese, chicken (or turkey), onion, garlic, salt, thyme, and nutmeg. Mix with your hands until well blended. Shape teaspoonfuls of mixture into meatballs.
After you've followed all the other soup directions, drop the meatballs in the soup pot, cover and simmer for an additional 10 minutes.
We served this will grilled cheeses: american for the girls and muenster for John & me.
It was REALLY good! I have leftovers, so maybe I'll take a picture tomorrow. I forgot to night.