½cupfreshly grated parmesan cheeseplus more for serving
salt and pepperto taste
For the meatballs:
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.
In a large mixing bowl, combine breadcrumbs, parmesan, milk, parsley, garlic, oregano, salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes together. Add the meat to the mixture and just combine. Do not over mix, but be sure seasonings are well dispersed.
Shape the meatballs into ¾ inch to 1-inch sized balls, using a small cookie scoop, and place them onto a rimmed baking sheet.
Pour ½ cup of beef broth around the meatballs and bake for 12-15 minutes, or until just browned.
For the Soup:
While the meatballs are baking, heat olive oil in a large, heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat. Add onions, celery, and carrots, and saute until veggies have softened for about 6 - 8 minutes. Add in the garlic and saute 1 minute longer.
Add in the wine and turn the heat to high. Use a spatula to scrape up any brown bits on the bottom of the pan, while letting the wine cook off for about 2 minutes.
Add in the chicken broth, oregano, and red pepper flakes and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for 15-20 minutes.
Add the meatballs, along with any juices remaining on the rimmed pan, and pasta if using. Cook for about 6-8 minutes, or until the pasta is just about tender.
Stir in the spinach and parsley and cook for 2 minutes, allowing the spinach to wilt.
In a small bowl, whisk together the eggs and parmesan. Stir the soup in a circular motion, and with the soup still spinning, gradually drizzle the egg mixture into the moving broth, stirring with a fork to break the egg mixture into thin ribbons. Cook, stirring constantly for about 1 minute.
Turn off the heat and season the soup to taste with salt and pepper.
Serve with additional Parmesan cheese and parsley as desired.
Ground Meat: For the meatballs, I recommend using lean ground meat, like ground sirloin, ground chicken, or ground turkey.Browning Meatballs: If you would like to brown the meatballs in the pan, instead of baking the meatballs, prepare the meatballs as directed. Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a large, heavy-bottomed pan, and brown the meatballs on each side, until golden and crispy. Remove the meatballs from the pan and proceed with the directions for preparing the soup.Using Frozen Meatballs: Use small, Italian-style meatballs and add the frozen meatballs to the soup when simmering the vegetables and broth. Wine: Use a dry white wine, such as Chardonnay or Pinot Grigio. And remember, any time you cook with wine, select one that is worth drinking. You never want to use cooking wine, as the flavor is not comparable. If you don’t drink wine, simply use additional chicken broth.Frozen Spinach: Feel free to use 10 ounces of thawed, and drained frozen spinach. Add to the soup when the fresh spinach is added.Using Other Greens: If opting to use a heartier green, such as kale, mustard greens, or escarole, be sure to remove the stem, chop into bite-size pieces, and add when you add the pasta, as they need longer cooking time than spinach.Broth: Feel free to replace the beef broth in the meatballs with chicken broth, but do not use anything other than chicken broth for the soup.Storage: Allow the soup to cool to room temperature and then place into an airtight container. Store in the refrigerator for 3-4 days. Alternatively, place the cooled soup into a freezer-safe container, leaving space for expansion, and freeze for up to 3 months.Reheating Instructions: Reheat individual servings in the microwave for 1-2 minutes, or large batches over medium-low heat, adding additional water or chicken broth, as needed until warmed through.