12 ounces lean ground beef or lean ground lamb
1 small fennel bulb, chopped (about 2/3 cup)
1 medium onion, chopped (about 1/2 cup)
2 cloves garlic, minced
4 cups beef broth
2 cups water
1 teaspoon dried oregano, crushed
2 bay leaves
1/4 teaspoon cracked black pepper
1/2 cup orzo pasta
4 cups shredded escarole, curly endive, and/or spinach
In large saucepan cook beef, fennel, onion, and garlic, uncovered, over medium-high heat for 5 minutes or until meat is browned and vegetables are nearly tender, stirring occasionally. Drain fat, if necessary.
Add broth, water, oregano, bay leaves, and pepper. Bring to boiling; reduce heat. Cover and simmer for 10 minutes. Remove bay leaves. Reserve for garnish, if desired.
Stir in orzo. Return to boiling; reduce heat to medium. Boil gently, uncovered, 10 minutes or until pasta is just tender, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat; stir in escarole.
To serve, ladle hot soup into bowls. Top with reserved bay leaves.