This is my variation of a standard recipe. I like fresh basil and a little lemon rind, so those are basically my only changes. This is a quick and easy soup with flavors that impress all.
INGREDIENTS (for 6 servings):
- 1/2 pound extra-lean ground beef
- 1 egg, lightly beaten
- 2 tablespoons Italian-seasoned breadcrumbs
- 1 tablespoon grated Parmesan cheese
- 2 tablespoons shredded fresh basil leaves
- 1 tablespoon chopped Italian flat leaf parsley (optional)
- 2 green onions, sliced (optional)
- 5 3/4 cups chicken broth
- 2 cups finely sliced escarole (spinach may be substituted)
- 1 lemon, zested
- 1/2 cup orzo (rice-shaped pasta), uncooked
- grated Parmesan cheese for topping
Mix together the meat, egg, bread crumbs, cheese, basil, parsley, and green onions; shape into 3/4 inch balls.
Pour broth into a large saucepan over high heat. When boiling, drop in meatballs. Stir in escarole, lemon zest and orzo. Return to a boil; reduce heat to medium. Cook at a slow boil for 10 minutes or until orzo is tender, stirring frequently. Serve sprinkled with cheese.