Chicken Soup with Stars and Meatballs
['2/3 cup finely grated fresh Parmesan', '3/4 pound ground turkey or lean ground beef', '1/2 small onion, finely chopped', '1/2 cup fresh bread crumbs', '1/2 cup cooked, squeezed dry, and chopped spinach', '1 large egg, lightly beaten', 'Coarse salt', '2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil', '8 ounces star-shape pasta (or any small pasta, such as orzo)', '4 cups chicken stock or broth']
1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.
2. Set aside 4 tablespoons of the cheese.
3. Combine the ground meat, onion, bread crumbs, spinach, egg, 3/4 teaspoon of the salt, and the remaining cheese in a medium bowl. Shape into 30 meatballs, each 1 inch in diameter.
4. Heat the oil in a large, heavy skillet over medium-high heat until hot but not smoking. Reduce heat to medium-low; add the meatballs and cook, turning, until lightly browned, about 10 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the meatballs to a large saucepan.
5. Meanwhile, add the pasta to the boiling water and cook according to the package directions; drain.
6. Add the chicken stock to the browned meatballs and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until the meatballs are just cooked through, about 5 minutes. Stir in the pasta and salt to taste.
7. Ladle the soup into bowls and sprinkle with the reserved cheese.
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