Contrary to what you might think, the origins of Italian wedding soup actually have nothing to do with nuptials, although it is often served as an appetizer at Italian weddings. The name comes from “Minestra Miritata” (marriage soup), an Italian phrase that describes the blissful marriage of hearty greens and rich, savory meat. First enjoyed by the peasants of Southern Italy, Neapolitans introduced it to other regions throughout Italy as well as the United States, where it became a staple at American-Italian restaurants.
Italian wedding soup is a traditional Old World recipe made with leftover meat like pork sausages and meatballs, a culinary tradition that honors the unspoken rule of Italian cooking: nothing in the kitchen should go to waste. Enhanced by the briny and rich flavors of the meat, the savory chicken broth also helps soften the spiciness of bitter greens like curly endive or escarole. Made with simple, everyday kitchen leftovers, it all comes together in a light yet satisfying dish. Garnish with grated Parmesan and bon appetito!
Yield: 8 servings
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 20 minutes
2 cups chicken broth
2 cups (1 pound) endive or escarole
(Other greens like cabbage and spinach can also be used)
2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan, plus extra for garnish
2 large eggs
1/2 cup grated Parmesan
16 ounces ground beef or pork
Freshly ground black pepper
Italian style breadcrumbs
One large egg
One small onion, grated
1/2 cup fresh Italian parsley, chopped
2 teaspoons minced garlic
1.Blend together the ingredients in a large bowl, saving the cheese, beef, and pork to be slowly mixed in last.
2.Using a small spoon, shape the meat into 1-inch meatballs. Place on a plate and set aside.
3.To make the soup, add the broth to a 1.5-quart cast iron French oven and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Add the greens and meatballs, then reduce to a simmer and cook until tender, about 10 minutes.
4.In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs and cheese. While stirring the soup, gradually mix in the egg mixture to form thin strands of egg, about one minute. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
5.Garnish with grated Parmesan and serve in bowls with a side of crusty bread.
For an Italian wedding soup that’s even easier to make, food and lifestyle guru Martha Stewart recommends swapping out the fresh-made meatballs for sliced sausage, which helps bring basic broth to life with a rich and complex flavor.
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