Italian Wedding Soup


 

Bowl of Wedding Soup

There is a slight chill in the air, evoking memories of the snowiest winter that even the heartiest Bostonians can’t forget. However, it has been a beautiful fall with mild weather and colorful foliage.

deconstructed soupI felt the urge to unearth my soup pot and put it to work.  Wedding soup  actually means  the “marriage” of meat and greens. There are so many wonderful versions of this soup, and feel free to vary it as you wish. I made a large batch of meatballs with a combination of pork and beef and baked them in the oven, instead of the traditional step of simmering in chicken broth. Each soup component was stored separately – the broth, meatballs and noodles ( if using) –  in order to build a yummy lunch the next day with leftovers, which are often tastier than when they’re hot off the stovetop.

MEATBALLS:

  • 1 small onion, grated
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 1 slice fresh white bread, crust trimmed, bread torn into small pieces
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
  • 1 pound ground sirloin or ground beef
  • 3/4 pound ground pork
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper

MeatballsPre-heat the oven to 375 degrees. Combine all the ingredients; grated onion, eggs, garlic, torn bread, Parmesan cheese, beef, pork, salt and pepper together in a bowl and stir gently with a fork or with your hands. Shape the meatballs into 1 1/2 inch diameter balls, if you want them small and 2 1/2 inches for larger meatballs. Place them on a baking sheet. Bake the meatballs for 20-30 minutes (depending on their size) or until cooked through and lightly browned.

SOUP:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 2 large carrots, diced
  • 8 cups chicken stock (I like the brand Culinary Chicken Stock)
  • 1 cup small pasta like elbows or ditalini (optional)
  • 3 cups curly kale
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, grated and a piece of the rind

While the meatballs are cooking start the soup. Heat the olive oil over medium heat in large heavy-bottomed soup pot. Add the onion and carrots and saute until softened, stirring often, about 8 minutes or so. Stir in the chicken stock. Cut off an inch or so off the rind of the Parmesan cheese block and add to the soup (this adds a ton of flavor). Bring to a boil and add the pasta, if using. Add the kale, lower the heat and simmer for another 15 minutes. Taste the soup and add salt and pepper, to taste. Ladle the soup into bowls, add the meatballs and some freshly grated Parmesan cheese.

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