Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Italian Wedding Soup

There are endless variations on this soup, but the main elements are meatballs and greens. In our recipe, we make meatballs of ground beef and pork, and we add plenty of fresh herbs and kale for the green component. While the name indicates that the soup might be served at an Italian wedding, it is actually a mistranslation of minestra maritata, which refers to the "marriage" of greens and meat in the soup.

1st Recipe from

1/2 lb. meat loaf mix (ground beef and pork)
2 tsp. dried parsley
1/4 c. grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. pepper
1 clove garlic, crushed
1/4 tsp. oregano
1/4 tsp. basil
1/4 c. milk

Combine the ingredients above. Form small 1/2 inch balls. Drop into boiling salted water. Simmer for 10 minutes, remove with a straining spoon, place on paper towels to drain briefly, then refrigerate.

1 stewing chicken
1 onion, quartered
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 bay leaf
1 carrot, thickly sliced
2 stalks celery, with leaves, cut up
1/3 teaspoon oregano
4 peppercorns
2 tsp. salt
6 qts. water

Simmer chicken with the reamining ingredients in the 6 quarts of water about 2 1/2 hours or until tender. Remove skin and bones, cut up and refrigerate. Strain broth and return to pot.

Add 1 head escarole, torn into bite sized pieces, black pepper, and red pepper flakes, to taste. Simmer 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, break spaghetti into 4 inch long pieces and cook according to package directions; drain.

Add 1 1/2 cups prepared chicken and meatballs to broth. Simmer 10 minutes more.

Variations: White cannelloni beans may be added; ham or proscuitto may be substituted for chicken.

This freezes well and can be doubled if you have a pot large enough.


Another recipe from Whole Foods Market

Serves 5-6

    For the Meatballs
  • 1/2 pound ground beef
  • 1/4 pound ground pork
  • 1 egg
  • 1/3 cup breadcrumbs
  • 3 tablespoons grated Parmesan
  • 2 tablespoons chopped garlic
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh oregano
  • 3 tablespoons chopped flat leaf parsley
  • pinch ground nutmeg
  • pinch paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper

  • For the Soup
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons chopped garlic
  • 3/4 cup chopped white onion
  • 3/4 cup chopped carrot
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 small can whole tomatoes, drained and halved
  • 1 cup orzo
  • 2 cups shredded kale

Combine ground beef, pork, egg, breadcrumbs, Parmesan, garlic, oregano, parsley, nutmeg, paprika, salt and pepper in a medium bowl. Use a teaspoon to measure out meat for even sized meatballs. With damp hands, shape them into balls. Cover and refrigerate until ready to cook.

Melt the butter in a large soup pot over medium heat. Add garlic, onion, carrot, salt and pepper and cook until translucent and fragrant, about 4 minutes. Stir in chicken broth, water and tomatoes. Cover and cook 10 minutes over medium heat or until soup comes to a boil.

Add meatballs and orzo to the boiling soup and stir to make sure they are fully submerged. Cover and simmer for another 15 minutes over medium heat. Stir in kale. Test a meatball and a piece of orzo to ensure that they are fully cooked. Taste and adjust seasoning. Serve immediately.

Nutrition Info

Per serving (About 14.5oz/409g-wt.): 320 calories (150 from fat), 17g total fat, 7g saturated fat, 20g protein, 24g total carbohydrate (3g dietary fiber, 3g sugar), 85mg cholesterol, 600mg sodium

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