Soup in the Slow Cooker: Italian Wedding Soup with Escarole

We'll show your how to make a hearty soup in the slow cooker. Tender greens, rich meatballs and pasta come together for a comfort food classic.

Italian Wedding Soup is a comfort food classic with its savory little meatballs, tender veggies and tiny pearls of pasta. It isn't difficult to make and this version, which simmers in a slow cooker for hours, makes it convenient enough for a week night dinner. The first step is to make the meatballs. In a large bowl, lightly beat two large eggs. Then add 1 cup finely chopped onion that will be about one large onion, 1/3 cup of fine dried bread crumbs, 2 tablespoons of grated parmesan cheese, 2 tablespoons of snipped fresh flat leaf parsley, 1/2 teaspoon of salt and 1/2 teaspoon of pepper. Stir everything together. Now, we'll add 1-1/2 pounds of lean, ground beef and mix well with your hands. Then roll the mixture into about 40 1-1/4-inch meatballs. Now, heat 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil in a large skillet. Add about half the meatballs and cook them, turning them as needed until they're browned on all sides. Drain the browned meatballs on paper towels and brown the remaining ones the same way. Now, it's time to put together the soup. In a 5 to 6 quartz slow cooker, add 8 cups of reduced sodium chicken broth along with 3 chopped large carrots. If you like, you can add 1-1/2 teaspoons of dried, crushed oregano now or wait until later if you prefer to use fresh oregano. Also add 1/2 teaspoon of salt and one 1/4 teaspoon of pepper and stir together. Add the meatballs. Stir the soup and cover the pot. Cook on the low heat setting for six hours or the high setting for three hours. When there's 20 minutes left to go on the cooking time, stir in 1 cup of dried acini de pepe pasta. And add an 8-ounce head of escarole that you've trimmed and cut into 1/2-inch strips. If you prefer to use fresh oregano, this is the time to add it, 2 tablespoons of snipped oregano. Recover the pot. When the pasta and escarole are tender, ladle the soup into serving bowls. If you like, garnish it with fresh chopped oregano.