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1 large onion
1 egg slightly beaten
1/4 C dry bread crumbs
2 t Italian seasoning
1 lb ground beef
2 T olive oil
1 fennel bulb
4 (14oz) cans chicken broth
6 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1/2 t peper
1 C uncooked orzo pasta
5 C shredded spinach (I used fresh, but I think frozen or even canned would be better)
Finely chop 1/3 of the onion, thinly slice the rest. In a mixing bowl, combine the egg, breadcrumbs & 1 t Italian seasoning, and the chopped onion. Add ground beef & mix well. Shape into 12 meatballs. In a skillet cook meatballs in hot oil until browned on all sides. In slow cooker, place meatballs & sliced onion.
Cut off upper stalks of fennel bulb. If desired, leave some leaves as garnish. Cut the fennel into strips. Add fennel, broth, 1 t Italian seasoning, and pepper. Cover & cook on low heat 8-10hrs or high heat 4-5hrs. If using low heat, turn up to high, gently stir in orzo. Cover & cook 15 mins more. Stir in spinach.
Makes 6 servings.