From Jen Mayer
[Ed: This photo doesn’t really do the aesthetics of this soup justice. It was startlingly lovely. For soup, that is.]
For the meatballs:3 tablespoons milk 1 egg 2 teaspoons garlic, minced or passed through a garlic press 3 tablespoons fresh parsley, finely minced ¼ cup grated Pecorino Romano cheese ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese 2/3 cup fresh bread crumbs 1 teaspoon kosher salt ½ teaspoon fresh black pepper ½ pound ground beef ½ pound Italian pork sausage, casings removed
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In a large bowl, whisk together milk, egg, garlic, parsley, Pecorino Romano, Parmesan, bread crumbs, salt and pepper. Break up beef and sausage over the mixture. With clean hands, gently (but thoroughly) combine ingredients.
For tiny, tiny meatballs, use a small spoon to drop ½ teaspoon-sized portions of meatball mixture onto parchment-lined rimmed baking sheets. Gently roll each mound into a ball. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes until lightly browned and cooked through. Set aside.
For medium-size meatballs, use a spoon to drop tablespoon-size portions of meatball mixture onto parchment-lined rimmed baking sheets. Gently roll each mound into a ball. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes until lightly browned and cooked through. Set aside.
For the soup:2 tablespoons olive oil 1 onion, finely chopped (about 1 cup) 3 carrots, ¼–inch dice (about 1 cup) 2 celery stalks, ¼–inch dice (about 3/4 cup) ½ cup dry white wine 3 quarts (12 cups) homemade chicken stock 8 ounces small pasta (I use Barilla Piccolini® Mini Farfalle) 8 ounces baby spinach, washed, stems removed*
In a large Dutch oven or large pot over medium-low, heat olive oil. Add onion, carrots, and celery; season with kosher salt. Sauté for 6 to 8 minutes until softened, but not browned. Increase heat to medium-high and add wine; cook for 1 to 2 minutes. Add chicken stock, meatballs and pasta to the pot; bring to a boil. Lower heat and simmer, uncovered, for 15 to 20 minutes until pasta is fully cooked.
Add spinach; season to taste with additional kosher salt and fresh black pepper. Cook for 2 to 3 more minutes until spinach is just wilted. Ladle into soup bowls and serve.
*I prefer everything in this soup to be teeny-tiny—from the meatballs to the pasta. I take an extra step to cut the spinach into small, julienned strips: stack 8 to 10 leaves together and trim off stem, discard stem pieces; slice stack crosswise into thin strips.