escarole-and-orzo-soup-with-meatballs Recipes

escarole and orzo soup with meatballs

You know those stories about when you were a kid that your parents can’t get enough of? That they’d go on. And on. And on about to their friends, your friends, prom date and future in-laws? Because apparently, when you were little you were cute. I mean, really cute. And you did cute things. And those cute things were hilarious. And still are, nearly 30 years later.

grating parmesan

Well, apparently long before I had achieved actual literacy, I went for the next closest thing: memorizing books. But I used to call it–start cooing now, please–“rememorizing” because doesn’t that make more sense, as you must “remember” it? Honestly, it still does. So, as the story goes, I came into my parents bedroom one morning and told them I had learned to read and I would demonstrate with my Favorite Book In the Whole World, Snow, a Dr. Seuss book. “Snow, snow, come out in the snow. Snow, snow, just look at the snow….” It didn’t take them long to figure out I was neither looking at the book, or likely, holding it right side up but, oh, were they charmed.

some fancy orzocarrots

Of course, this isn’t a story about how cute I was when I was four (though the correct answer is “very”), it’s about that favorite book: Snow and the fact that even today I still adore snow, but this winter, with just an hour of snow here or there has been an utter disappointment. Seeing as it is now late in February, I was getting convinced that it simply wouldn’t snow this winter until this morning at about 6:30 when I woke up, saw all of the rooftops outside our window draped in white and was so excited I could not get back to sleep. Even better, I had plans to bring my camera to work today so I had a chance to take a few quick pictures in Madison Square Park with our new lens. I could have stayed there all day, you know, if the Shake Shack was open. But even the view from work isn’t half bad. It’s a snow globe out there and I can’t wait to get back in it.

Which, really, is a perfect time to tell you about a soup we made last week. Seeing as I am a sucker for anything with the word “wedding” in it, be it an excuse to smash cake in someone’s face, bake cookies or in this case, put meatballs in soup. Of course, traditional Italian Wedding Soup (also known as Minestra Maritata or Pignato Grasso) is said to have little to do with happily ever afters, but the marriage between meat and vegetables in a soup. Associated with southern Italy, but more often parts of the Northeast, most recipes today have pork, a leafy green and some form of pasta in it, typically tiny ancini de pepe confetti. This soup is a riff on that, with turkey meatballs so good, I’d encourage you to make extra to serve with a future spaghetti dinner, escarole (though unable to find it, I used swiss chard), orzo and carrots in chicken stock.

turkey meatballsescarole and orzo soup with meatballs

I’ve been pretty slackish about making dinner lately, but this was one of those things that go me over it, albeit briefly, as it could be done in a reasonable amount of time on a weekday evening. Or a snowy night, tucked in with a good movie and some dreamy chocolate pudding.

Escarole and Orzo Soup with Turkey Parmesan Meatballs
Adapted from Bon Appetit, February 2003

If desired, grate a little extra Parmesan cheese for passing; a sprinkling over the soup will echo the flavor in the meatballs.

Makes 4 main-course servings.

1 large egg
2 tablespoons water
1/4 cup plain dried breadcrumbs
12 ounces lean ground turkey
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian parsley
2 garlic cloves, minced
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

8 cups (or more) low-salt chicken broth
1 cup chopped peeled carrots
3/4 cup orzo (rice-shaped pasta)
4 cups coarsely chopped escarole (about 1/2 medium head)

Whisk egg and 2 tablespoons water in medium bowl to blend. Mix in breadcrumbs; let stand 5 minutes. Add turkey, Parmesan cheese, parsley, garlic, salt, and pepper; gently stir to blend. Using wet hands, shape turkey mixture into 1 1/4-inch-diameter meatballs. Place on baking sheet; cover and chill 30 minutes.

Bring 8 cups chicken broth to boil in large pot. Add carrots and orzo; reduce heat to medium and simmer uncovered 8 minutes. Add turkey meatballs and simmer 10 minutes. Stir in chopped escarole and simmer until turkey meatballs, orzo, and escarole are tender, about 5 minutes longer. Season soup to taste with salt and pepper. (Can be made 2 hours ahead. Rewarm over medium heat, thinning with more broth if desired.)

Ladle soup into bowls and serve.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

New here? You might want to check out the comment guidelines before chiming in.

111 comments on escarole and orzo soup with meatballs

  1. Strange…. I made this on Tuesday for the first time. I was able to find Escarole at one of our local markets and it was wonderful, however, my leftovers turned into Risotto, which is still delicious, but I think next time I’ll cook the orzo separately and add it per serving so it stays a soup. Great winter weather weeknight meal! (that was a lot of Ws)

  2. Linda

    I make this soup often…I sometimes add a can of rinsed and drained Cannellini beans
    to it at the end of cooking just to heat through. If the leftovers are too thick…just add some more broth. I also make the meatballs out of ground chicken sometimes and those are really delicious as well.

  3. Oh, yummy. I make a chickpea escarole soup that always gets raves. I’ll definitely try this version.

    (I can usually find escarole at Safeway. They put it with the bibb and romaine lettuces. You have to be careful you grab the right kind. Bibb lettuce doesn’t hold up very well in soup! Found that out the hard way.)

  4. Oh, Deb, I love the fact that we got a little snow too… I was desperate to see it! You’re already making good use of your wide angle lens with those shots of the park. BTW, how do you get the pictobrowser to work on a wordpress blog? Or have you migrated away from wordpress by now? I can’t get the darn thing to show up on my blog and was just wondering. I’ll go back to swooning over your photos now….

  5. Liz

    This looks delicious, as do the photos. Everything is all gorgeous in white up here in Connecticut as well, but somehow, your photos still make me want to take the trip down to New York for a walk in the park. Or — even better — stay home and make this delicious soup.

  6. Lucky you for the snow, I miss it, and your photos are beautiful. We are getting to warm weather time here in Charleston, it is cold this weekend though. I will give your soup a try it looks delicous. My dad cooks with escarole alot, I am sure he will like this also.

  7. I am insanely jealous of the snow. Rarely do we get more than a spattering, at best. When we were in New York a couple of weeks ago, there was some snow and I was embarrassingly excited. Not that anything accumulated, but just seeing actual snow was enough for this Southern girl. I am so ready to pack up and move north!

  8. I work on the fourth story (tall for New Haven) of a modern building. 15 feel of glass per story, and my desk is right next to the windows, facing outward. I feel like I’m in a snowglobe. I love it! I’m glad the snow came early because it was such fun to wake up to it – but I might feel differently if I had to commute to work.

    Was it actually snowing when you took these photos? I’m scared to take my camera out with the snow, but I really want to get some shots of this. (It’s still snowing fairly heavily in CT).

  9. We switched to ground turkey for meatballs a while back (exactly your recipe above, plus crushed red pepper and more garlic…always more garlic). I find we get a little grossed out at the toughness and overpowering meatiness of other ground meats now… Anyway, a couple weeks ago we had only 6oz or so of ground turkey and wanted spaghetti and meatballs. There were these button mushrooms that were just sort of hanging out in the fridge, so I minced up 4 or 5 and threw them in, and it was a definite success. If you ever find the plain-turkey meatball mix too light in flavor, the minced mushrooms give it an earthiness that’s really satisfying.
    Also, gorgeous pictures! They make tolerating our weeks and weeks of snow (upper midwest) almost seem possible.

  10. oh my god Snow was my first book! I don’t believe it’s a Dr. Seuss book though, it’s P.D. Eastman. “Snow snow snow. Look at the snow.” I grew up in Buffalo, it was very fitting. The soup looks wonderful.

  11. Stephanie

    This looks absolutely delicious, and has made me hungry for… a second lunch, since I don’t have any of your soup on hand. Beautiful snow pictures- come to Colorado if you want more of that ;-).

  12. deb

    Alissa — I think it’s that recipe of the day feature on Epicurious, getting us all on the same cooking schedule. I actually liked that it thickened a little, but I like thicker soups!

    Linda – I love the beans idea; had seen it in the comments on Epicurious but then forgot to add them. Next time.

    jennbec – I use the WordPress publishing platform but on my own server/host, so maybe I can do things that the hosted WordPress doesn’t allow? I had always assumed they were the same, but I guess not.

    Rachael – Yes, it was snowing and I was terrified of getting the camera too wet, which is why the shots are kind of rushed and snapshot-y. I only had the wide angle on, and wanted to switch to the macro/50 mm to get closer shots of details but was too worried to get the camera interior wet. And I hadn’t brought a towel, because I was worried I’d be carrying too much and would lose my balance with 7 pounds of camera equipment on me. In short: I was a bundle of anxiety. Typical.

    sara – That is so great! Tell me, were you disappointed that you couldn’t make perfectly round snow balls like they had in the pictures?

    Btw, if anyone is confused as to why my friend Jocelyn has been sporadically leaving Beastie Boys lyrics in the comments lately, it’s because she’s SO EXCITED that we’re seeing them in a few weeks. As am I. But my favorite lyric of theirs can’t be reprinted. Alas.

  13. A few weeks? Try ONE week and FOUR days.

    She’s crafty – she’s gets around
    She’s crafty – she’s always down
    She’s crafty – she’s got a gripe
    She’s crafty – and she’s just my type
    She’s crafty

  14. Yum, I would totally make this AND love it.

    I get what you mean about fresh snow; there really is nothing else like it. The pureness, the cleanliness and the quiet that it brings- we Minnesotans get that a lot, and this year has been a good one. Your pictures look like the past few months here.

    And that book? TOTALLY one of my favs! I loved the dog in it.

  15. AngAk

    thanks for clearing up the Jocelyn thing. Loved the NYC pics. I always wondered if it really looks like the movie “You’ve Got Mail”, and your pics do indeed look like those street scenes. I must visit sometime.

  16. AMR

    I read “Of course, this isn’t a story about how cute I was when I was four (though the correct answer is “very”)…” and, seeing it was a link, clicked it thinking ~ Oh goody a baby picture!
    *Well* you were quite an adorable little pot carrots my dear.

  17. Oh thanks for posting this! I love wedding soup, but have never made it myself. I’m also trying to eat healthy as many days out of the week I can, so I love the idea of turkey meatballs. Very nice.

  18. This soup looks delicious. As to your lack of snow, I’m jealous. In Iowa, we haven’t seen our driveways since November! The neighbors had the roof to their covered porch collapse under the weight… and we lost cable (omg no interwebs dying agh) for almost a week. We haven’t had a winter like this in… uh, ever.
    LOL to AMR’s comment!

  19. OMG I did the same “rememorizing” when I was little! Only I told my kindergarten teacher I could read because I wanted to be in the reading club so bad. But the book I “rememorized” was also a Dr. Suess book – Green Eggs and Ham. I find it so funny that I wasn’t the only one to ever do that! :)

  20. I had a similar thing happen as a child. I had a book read to me so frequently that I memorized it, my parents thinking I was a brilliant child prodigy, reading at age three, until they figured out I just knew what words went with the pictures.

    Now, onto the soup. Is it in bad taste for me to say you had me at meatballs? Because those meatballs – don’t gag – look good raw. And meat and Parmesan cheese combined together, well, I’m sorry, I’m just stuck on the meatballs.

  21. knitopia

    Looks good! Are the meatballs easy to break into smaller bites with a spoon?

    For another tasty wedding-related soup, see here and here (two variations on the same Turkish red lentil “bride” soup).

  22. SantaDad

    OK! Not to belabor a point, but it was “rememberizing.” When asked if you were really reading it, you replied, “I rememberized it.”

    Yes. I still think you’re cute …. sometimes….

  23. Betsy

    We make this soup frequently during the winter, I don’t use carrots, but it’s a great idea. I add about 1/2 tsp of grated lemon rind to meatball mix – it’s a wonderful sunny addition! Still snowing in Boston!

  24. Maggie

    This is a version of my family’s favorite soup. The recipe came from my aunt’s italian Grandmother-in-law. It always graces any holiday dinner table. We’ve always just called it escarole soup, though some years when escarole couldn’t be found it was made with spinach. And we use cubed mozzerella cheese instead of parmesan and bow tie pasta instead of orzo or ancini de pepe. And, we add in the chicken meat that was boiled to make the broth as well. The combo of the chicken and the meatballs makes it very hearty and fulfilling. I’m so glad to see this soup here. Most people have never even heard of escarole or this delicious soup made from it.

  25. Maggie

    Oops, I should pay better attention. We use parmesan cheese in the meatballs, for sure. But the cubed mozzerella is for dropping into the soup right before you eat it. It melts and gets a little stringy and makes a nice gooey, creamy addition to the rest of the soup.

  26. Maggie

    Also, you should cook the meatballs until browned before putting them in the soup. This can be done in the oven or in a skillet and can easily be done ahead of time and kept in the fridge. You get a much better texture and flavor that way and you cook off some of the fat that will make the top of the soup filmy. Sorry, I’ve totally geeked out on seeing this soup here. It’s one of my ultimate favorite dishes.

  27. Those photographs are stunning! Honestly, they are gorgeous. I’m so jealous, not only of your talent, but of your snow!

    The soup is wonderful too. I make this often, as did my mom, as did her mom. It has always been a staple in our family. I make my little meatballs with a mixture of veal and turkey. I also add cannellini beans sometimes, and I use acini di pepe pastina. It holds its shape a little better when you reheat the soup the next day.

  28. This is a great comforting soup to celebrate the snow! Your BW photographs are beautiful and show a New York winterland that I have never seen before. These should be printed larger , framed and hung on the wall. I’d buy one!

  29. Al T

    Thanks for the pics of Manhattan, b+w is a nice touch. You could sell those shots, yes. Thanks, too for your great work on the blog. From the Great White North.

  30. I admit it. I resent snow, purely because I hate winter. I even kind of resent the fact that your photos are so beautiful, because I find myself beginning to appreciate the snow and have to remind myself: ‘COLD, AARGH’. But… your photos are beautiful, haha.

    The soup looks gorgeous – just the sort of thing to make me feel better about winter ^__^

  31. Courtney

    How did you know I have been itching to make Italian Wedding soup? I haven’t had it in YEARS, and I think my husband would actually like it (he is kind of picky about soup).

  32. Jenya

    No escarole..? Not even endive? (not the heads of endive, the curly leafy endive)
    But how? You love bitter things and last I checked, swiss chard isn’t.

  33. ChristinaMason

    Funny. I made something similar last week to use up some kale that was borderline in the freshness dept.:

    Italian Wedding Soup

    2 c. soffrito (small-diced carrot, celery, onion)– about 2 lg. celery ribs, 2 medium carrots, 1/2 an onion
    olive oil for sauteeing
    2 bay leaves
    2 small cloves garlic
    1 tsp. Italian seasoning
    salt and pepper to taste
    dash seasoned salt
    32 oz. chicken broth
    lots of fresh chopped parsley
    dash of powdered bay leaf
    tsp. of minced rosemary and thyme
    3 cups fresh kale or curly endive, rinsed well and picked over

    In a large stock pot or Dutch oven, sautee the soffrito in a bit of olive oil. Reduce the heat and add the garlic, Italian seasoning and remaining spices, sautee just until fragrant—do not brown. Add the chicken stock and about 3 cups of water. Bring to a boil.

    Then make the meatballs:

    1 lb. mixed ground beef and veal (meatloaf mix also works)
    approx. 3/4 c. good unseasoned bread crumbs (I like Whole Foods fresh from the bakery)
    splash of milk– approx. 1/4 c.
    salt and pepper
    3 Tbsp. grated Parmesan or Romano cheese
    1 Tbsp. minced onion
    2 small cloves garlic, minced
    lots of parsley
    bit of Mrs. Dash
    lots of pepper and some salt
    1 tsp. Italian seasoning

    Form into nickel-sized meatballs by rolling in your palm and drop into the barely simmering broth. Add the kale to the broth. Stir gently.

    Then add:

    2 more med. carrots cut thick on the diagonal.

    Simmer uncovered for at least an hour.

    Serve over hot cooked pasta.

  34. Tea

    Only you could make winter so beautiful looking! I’m doing backflips that it’s freakin’ finally warming up around here, but your shots actually make me long for a little bit more cold. That first fountain shot is heartbreakingly lovely.

  35. You slip you slack you clock me you lack
    While I’m reading on the road by my man Jack Kerouac
    Poetry in motion coconut lotion
    I had to diss the girl because she got too emotional
    Are you experienced little girl
    I want to know what goes on in your little girl world
    Cause I’m on your mind it’s hard to forget me
    I’ll take your pride for a ride if you let me
    So peace out ya’ll I’m PCP so I’m out
    Full throttle to the bottle and full full clout
    And I’m out

  36. Suzanne M

    The book “Snow” was one of my favorites, too! Growing up in the NY suburbs, we would take fresh snow, put it in a pan and drizzle maple syrup on it. Mmmm. Now, I have to travel to the snow and my kids don’t get to have the experience of waking up to everything in white. Another favorite book was “Stone Soup”, which goes along with this post, too. We make that all the time, with whatever we have in the fridge/pantry, but generally without the stones. I love your blog!

  37. I did the same thing when I was younger- only I did it because I really hated reading so I would pretend I was! im actually rather pleased that I wasn’t around for the snow this past weekend…looked pretty chilly!

  38. Heather

    Ahhh – deliciousness. I was in a soup mood yesterday – made this and a lovely lentil with sausage – my family inhaled both. Of course we live in the armpit of Missouri, so couldn’t find kale OR escarole, so ended up with spinach. Still tasty and delicious, if not quite according to the recipe. Thanks!

  39. {I have a fun suggestion for your orzo. Toast it in a saute pan first, dry, as you might pine nuts or sesame seeds. Then continue on with the recipe. After having it like this once I can barely eat it pale and naked anymore…}

    ps. you are one of the only people to make me miss the snow in nyc. but only miss. I’m going to stay right here with the fruit blossoms exploding and rhubarb on the way!

  40. Celeste

    I adore IWS. I like the meatballs cooked ahead of time, though, and added back in at the end. The carrot seems like a really great addition; I love the mix of green and orange, and carrot is a natural with chicken broth. I will try this for sure!

  41. I love this soup and have been making it for several years now. It does turn into stoup the next day as the orzo soaks up most of the broth, but that’s no problem flavor-wise.

    In answer to Jennbec’s question and Deb’s speculation: I’m in the process of moving my blog over to wordpress, and the person doing my redesign just informed me today, in fact, that if you self-host on wordpress, the sky’s the limit for functionality, but that if you let wordpress host, there are many limitations. FWIW…

  42. Patti

    We made this last week, with kale instead of chard or escarole – my friend says kale looks like Henry Rollins in a tutu – and lots more carrots. It was wonderful, definitely a keeper! Thanks for sharing this one. :)

  43. Hey Deb! I have been wanting to make this soup for awhile and finally have a lot of the ingredients in my fridge with plans to make this for dinner tonight. =) I do have a quick question in regards to an ingredient substitution and wanted your opinion. I got some beautiful baby spinach from the farmer’s market this weekend and was wondering if I could use it in place of the escarole. Will it hold up as well in the soup? Or should I just stop on the way home and pick up some escarole?

    Thanks for your advice! LOVE love LOVE your blog. =)

  44. Diana T.

    Hi Deb, i just wanted to say that i just recently came across your site totally by random. And by my total surprise i became instantly addicted. I have made a few of your recipes and my husband and i are always really happy with the meal or occasional treat in the end. Well, now we are adding this one to our list of favorites. Thank you.

  45. Courtney

    I made this soup tonight, and it was absolutely delish! Next time I think I will start with more broth, though. The orzo really soaked it up. Also, I sauteed leaks and added them when I added the carrots. I think they left a really great flavor. Can’t wait to have the leftovers tomorrow! Thanks so much for sharing this recipe.

  46. Chrissy

    made this last night to bring to a couple who just miscarried. i saved some for myself and it was excellent – comforting and delicious. perfect for the occasion, especially after this blizzard.

  47. Joanna

    The wedding soup that I grew up on didn’t contain pasta but rather an egg/cheese mixture stirred into the soup at the end. Yours looks considerably healthier (and delicious!).

  48. Julia

    We just finished off this soup and were very disappointed with the meatballs. They just tasted too funky, off. I can’t quite describe it. Fresh turkey, too. We are going to try it with fish meatballs this weekend instead. Other than that it’s a great little soup. Comfort.

  49. Dana

    Hi Deb! I am new to your blog (i love love love it!) and I tried this out this weekend, delish! I loved it! And also you take the most beautiful photos!

  50. hykua

    this is also delicious with ground chicken (due to personal aversion to turkey). I didn’t understand why the carrots needed to cook so long and added them just before the escarole. thank you for this great recipe, as always.

  51. This was great! I had wanted to try this soup for a while and I’m glad I did. Since there was no escarole to be seen, I used swiss chard in its place. All worked out well.

    1. deb

      I’ve never really heard of a parmesan substitute (well, pecorino romano is often suggestion but if dairy is this issue, that’s not help). However, you can skip it.

  52. Nour

    Hi Deb,

    LOVE your website! Could I bake these turkey meatballs (similar to your chicken meatballs recipe), if I want them as an appetizer instead of in the soup?


  53. Kate

    So I started to make this but discovered we had no orzo midway through cooking. Whoops. Anyway, a wild rice medley from TJ’s filled in nicely. I also added some white beans. Loved it!

  54. Christa

    It is freakin cold outside and the husband and I wanted soup. This was soooo good! Thank you! I now have a belly full of soupy, noodly, leafy, meatbally goodness.

  55. sarah

    Just made this last night! I felt a bit silly because my store had no escarole, so I used spinach, and I’m trying to avoid pasta, so I used wild rice instead of orzo… so I didn’t even use the two major ingredients! I also swapped asiago for parmesan, since that’s all I had. But even all that considered, it was AMAZING! The meatballs, the broth, the combination of the greens and the meat and the starch. Perfect. Perfect perfect. And the wild rice at the bottom of the bowl was like a little pile of hidden treasure. You have never led me astray! Thank you!! <3 smitten kitchen :)

  56. Jules

    This soup was delicious! I used homemade chicken stock and baked the meatballs first, and hubs gobbled it up. Will def add to our soup rotations…thx!

  57. Beth

    I made a variant of this soup with kamut which I had leftover cooked in the fridge and savoy cabbage, with a few leftover pinto beans also. it was good!

  58. Marcia G.

    I just made this soup, with barley instead of orzo. It is divine! I made enough to stock up in my freezer, and am looking forward to getting through the winter months with it.

  59. Harriet and Emily

    AMAZING! We simmered parmesan rinds for about 30 minutes before adding the carrots and orzo. The result was fantastic– it really complemented the flavor of the meatballs.

  60. Gina Ann

    This is one of my favorite go to recipes on a chilly night. The only thing I add is a little fresh lemon zest in the meatballs, and I lightly sautee the escarole in virgin olive oil, garlic and crushed red pepper (a little freshly grated nutmeg..yum) before adding the rest of the ingredients. The crushed red pepper really warms you up from the inside out and as an American/Italian I find a way to add fresh garlic to most of my dishes!

  61. “You know those stories about when you were a kid that your parents can’t get enough of? That they’d go on. And on. And on about to their friends, your friends, prom date and future in-laws? Because apparently, when you were little you were cute. I mean, really cute. And you did cute things. And those cute things were hilarious. And still are, nearly 30 years later.”

    Yes, and those stories for them are funny while for me is pretty embarrassing most of the time that when it happens, I can’t help but just walk away for a while and cool of a bit.

  62. brit

    I just made this today with my 3 year old son! How simple! Perfect way to spend a day in awaiting the arival of Hurricane Sandy. LOVE your blog. Stay safe!

  63. Emilie

    I’m making this for the second time tonight – it really is delicious! I can’t find ground turkey (mince here) so have used chicken (mince/ground), and spinach instead of escarole which I don’t think I’ve ever seen either :) A bit of extra garlic in the soup, it is light, warming, and the meatballs are so tender and yummy. It is definitely on my dinners list now.

  64. Jessica

    Made this tonight and it was delicious!! Will 100% make again. Super easy and flavorful– A+ I used chicory– is it the same thing? I think everyone has a great substitute.

  65. Too bad we don’t have escarole so I’ll just substitute lentils. The turkey meat is a refreshing twist instead of using the typical pork meatball. It’s more healthy and cost efficient esp after Thanksgiving or Christmas. The parmesan is a great idea too.

  66. Sarah L.

    I’m 5 years late, and it isn’t exactly the season but I found escarole at my local farmer’s market and that sealed the deal. Well well, the pics had me hooked and it was surprinsingly eeeeaaassssyyyyyy to make. Had no orzo so I substituted with Quinoa. IT IS A KEEPER!!!

  67. Maggie

    I linked here from your new chicken stock recipe, which I used to make this soup. Really delicious! Wegman’s sells bags of cut escarole and this was super easy to pull together. If you have time to make the meatballs and cut the carrot ahead of time, this is a very quick dinner.

  68. Lisa

    Just made this and am in fact enjoying it now – brilliant recipe! Didn’t find the escarole so I swapped with spinach, and luckily I caught your comment about adding spinach at the very last minute because it cooks quickly. The “weight” of the turkey meatballs is perfection and while I wasn’t sure if the broth would be tasty, it totally took on the flavor of the meatballs and parmesan. Perfect winter weeknight supper, thank you!

  69. Amanda

    DEB. Oh, Deb. I’ve just made this soup for the first time, and it is fantastic. Dare I say, the best soup there ever was. I even made mine with vegan “Chik’n” broth and gluten free orzo (I’m not really that pretentious, I swear – just trying some new things out) and it is truly amazing. THANK YOU for the best blog (and cookbooks) a girl could ask for. You make my weekend kitchen conquests utterly delightful!

  70. Diane

    I made this tonight coincidentally – very similar to yours but the recipe i had called for a half cup of grated parmesan mixed with a lightly beaten egg that you whisk into the soup at the end…..SOOOOO good. Love SK – your recipes are my go to!

  71. Maura

    I thought to myself, there’s no way a soup this simple can be anything to write home about. But I had a ton of escarole from my CSA to use up so I made a double batch. My husband and I can’t stop talking about it! I was skeptical that the turkey meatballs would be bland and get tough from cooking in the broth but they’re soft, pillowy, and packed with flavor. The soup is even better the next day when it’s had time to sit and marry for a while. I’m so happy we have the whole second batch in the freezer!! Thanks for another winner, Deb.

  72. I really like this soup. Been making it for years. After it sits overnight or a day or so the orzo keeps expanding and become very mushy. Do you have any suggestion to mitigate this? Thanks for all the inspiration.

    1. deb

      Mary Jo — As with chicken noodle soup, I know many people prefer to keep the noodles separate from the soup, just rewarm them together before serving.

  73. June

    Simple but delicious! Hubs loved it (he’s a soup guy) AND my toddler gobbled it up (had seconds!). Win all around. Subbed kale for the escarole and it worked wonderfully. Definitely going to be one of my future go-to soups!