A few years ago on a flight from Mexico City to Toronto I sat in first class and ate Italian Wedding Soup for the first time. It was delicious, and of all places on a plane! I have ordered it a few times since out at different restaurants, and it never disappoints. We decided to give it a try at home earlier this week.
Because my food photos never do the dish justice, I pulled this one off the Internet.
Italian Wedding soup includes green vegetables and meatballs, usually with small pasta. "Wedding Soup" is a mistranslation of the Italian name for the soup "Minestra Maritata" or married soup - meaning the greens and meat go well together. My friend Judy who has lived and traveled extensively in Italy said she rarely sees this soup on restaurant menus. It's actually more common in the midwest of the United States.
Thomas helped me make the meatballs. This was his first time and wasn't so sure about the texture and cold wet feeling at first. He did a good job though.
He also had never chopped onion and his eyes were bothering him. Instead of giving up on the task, he ran out to the garage and got safety glasses to protect his eyes. Pretty smart.
Since Brennan doesn't eat much meat, I made a different soup for him. But he enjoyed cooking the Italian Wedding Soup.
Again, my photos never do it justice. You can see the greens and a meatball hiding under the Parmesan. It really was delicious. Even better the second night when it was starchier. David loved it. I'd definitely make it again.
Italian Wedding Soup
1 lb. ground chicken breast
2/3 c bread crumbs
1/3 c water
1/4 c grated Parmesan
1/4 c chopped parsley
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 egg, slightly beaten
1 tsp salt
pepper to taste
3 Tbsp olive oil
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 small yellow onion, chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1 lb spinach or escarole
8 c chicken broth
1 c small pasta (I used orzo)
For the meatballs, put the bread crumbs and water into a large bowl to rehydrate the bread crumbs. Add the other ingredients except for the olive oil and mix well. Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan. Form small meatballs and cook in the saucepan, turning often, until browned and cooked through. Place on a platter.
Add the onion, celery, and carrot to the saucepan, stirring until tender - about 10 minutes. Add the garlic and red pepper. Stir in the spinach or escarole until just wilted. At this point I transferred the vegetables to a soup pot. Add the chicken broth and simmer. Add the chicken meatballs, cover and cook 5 minutes. Add the pasta and cook until al dente - another 10 minutes or so on simmer. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Shave large shards of Parmesan to garnish.