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Italian Wedding Soup

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 
I'd love to find a really good recipe for an Italian Wedding Soup - one with tasty meatballs, lots of greens, and a fair amount of good quality pasta. I've some ideas about seasoning, but since I've never made this soup before, I'm pretty ignorant of the subtleties that can make a great version. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

There was a restaurant near me that put out what I thought was a wonderful version, and when I went to talk to the chef and see if I could get the recipe, he'd left the place and took the recipe with him :cry:

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post #2 of 10
Italian wedding soup is a whole lot of work and I am sure you will get many great recipes. This is the one I use.

It starts off with a great chicken stock - you already know how to make that so I won't go into details.

Then you've got to make a great meatball. I like to use both pork and beef for my meatballs. 1lb is plenty for the soup but I double the recipe and make 2 batches and freeze the second one for next time.

- 1/2 lb ground beef
- 1/2 lb ground pork
- 1 egg
- 1 handful of chopped fresh mint
- 1/2 handful chopped fresh parsley
- 1 large onion
- 1 clove garlic
- pinch of cumin
- salt/pepper
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- dash of red wine
- 1 cup stale crustless bread soaked in milk

1. place the onion, garlic, mint and parsley in the FP and whiz it.
2. In a large mixing bowl beat the egg, add the seasonings, the red wine, olive oil, and the chopped onion mixture and combine.
3. add the ground meat by hand.
4. squeeze the milk out of the bread crumbs and combine into the meat mixture.
6. Make very tiny meatballs and place on a baking sheet lined with parchment. (this will take a while)
7. Bake the meatballs at 350 for about 20 minutes until cooked through but not overly browned.
8. Your stock should be on the stove already - I usually put a parmesan cheese rind into it for this recipe.
9. Add the meatballs to the chicken stock and bring to a simmer.
10. Add pasta of your choice. I prefer either papardella or pastina.
11. Take the pot off the heat and stir in 3 cupfuls (or more) of chopped baby spinach. It will wilt quickly.

Serve!

"You are what you eat, so don't be fast, cheap, easy, or fake."

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"You are what you eat, so don't be fast, cheap, easy, or fake."

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post #3 of 10
Thank you Mapiva! It sounds delicious! :smiles:
A house is not beautiful because of its walls, but because of its cakes
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A house is not beautiful because of its walls, but because of its cakes
- Old Russian proverb
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post #4 of 10
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the ideas. I've been playing around with some ideas as well. One thought is to add veal to the meatballs, include some nutmeg to compliment the greens in the soup, maybe even add a scosh of nutmeh to the stock, and the n prepare the meatballs by giving them a light fry before finishing in the oven or in the pot.

Thought I'd add several greens to the soup, maybe rainbow chard, some Lacinto Blue Kale, perhaps some spinach. Whaddaya think?
post #5 of 10
My father-in-law's home town in the western part of Lazio (central italy) had a christmas soup that was traditional there, and is probably very similar to your "wedding soup". They used what do they call them, cardons? Cardoons? these distant relatives of artichoke, that have large stalklike leaves with pointy edges - all stalk, hardly any leaf - and you have to clean them by peeling off the tissue-like covering, and cleaning off all the leafy parts and pointy parts. Then dice it up.
Chicken broth, i don't remember if the cardoons are boiled first or cooked in the broth, then the meatballs. Served on top of toasted artisanal bread with plenty of pecorino grated on top.
This is called zuppa alla sante'

My mother's family made an escarole soup that was similar - I make a very simple version for everyday use (boil together cut up escarole, sliced or chopped onion, celery, carrot in water, with salt and black pepper. Boil rice separately. Serve together (i keep the cold leftover rice in the fridge, separate from the soup, and enjoy it for several days - heat the soup, put in the cold rice and it comes to the right temp) - lots of parmigiano grated on top - in fact, a nice addition is a crust of the parmigiano cooked in with the soup - i love when it gets soft and rubbery and i eat it in the soup. This one is a real staple for me - when i'm alone i'll eat it every night for the week, and it's satisfying and healthy and really enjoyable.

It can be dressed up by using chicken stock instead of water, and meatballs.

Not sure if either of these are "wedding soup"
"Siduri said, 'Gilgamesh, where are you roaming? You will never find the eternal life that you seek...Savour your food, make each of your days a delight, ... let music and dancing fill your house, love the child who holds you by the hand and give your wife pleasure in your embrace.'"
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"Siduri said, 'Gilgamesh, where are you roaming? You will never find the eternal life that you seek...Savour your food, make each of your days a delight, ... let music and dancing fill your house, love the child who holds you by the hand and give your wife pleasure in your embrace.'"
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post #6 of 10
Thread Starter 
Hi, Siduri ...

The "wedding soup" has so many variations. Sometimes meatballs are used, and when they are, different meat is used when making them. Some versions use pieces of whole meat, little cubes of beef or veal, sometimes even chicken or turkey. The vegetables vary widely, although most soup recipes I've seen include leafy vegetables, but not always of the chard/kale/spinach type. Some soups are made with stock or broth, some (although, admitedly, I've not seen many) with just water.

There is no "authentic", or perhaps even traditional, wedding soup. Further, the soup isn't served at weddings. Rather the term means the wedding, or marriage, between flavors and ingredients found in the soup.

Your soup is just as authentic as the next as far as I can tell.
post #7 of 10
When I was in Italy ,I ordered it in a local Trattorria where mama was peeling potatoes in the back of the dining room, the knockout daughter was in kitchen making the tiny meatballs for the broth. I asked if I could go in and watch her. Mamma gave me permission. She was pushing them off the end of a teaspoon into boiling chicken broth. She used chopped chicken, veal,and pork No beef. I dont classify these as meatballs they are more like the French Quennels, since they are boiled or poached and not fried or roasted. They also made a fantastic garlic soup thickened with bread.
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post #8 of 10
I think adding nutmeg would be a fine idea. Veal would work just as well if not better than beef.

I would be very careful with the meatballs. However you decide to cook them make sure they don't have any charred parts otherwise little dark flecks will cloud up your broth.

What I forgot to mention is that I also put a little bit of uncooked rice into the meat mixture. It adds another layer of texture to the soup.

If you decide to poach or boil the meatballs instead of baking or frying, I would suggest pouring the hot broth over them very gingerly until they firm up. Otherwise you'll have little bits of ground meat floating around. I don't prefer this way, it makes for a cloudy broth anyway.

I don't think there is a rule to which kind of greens you can use. Peppery arugula might also be nice!

"You are what you eat, so don't be fast, cheap, easy, or fake."

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"You are what you eat, so don't be fast, cheap, easy, or fake."

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post #9 of 10
Thread Starter 
When I've poached meatballs, which was a long time ago, I'd gingerly add them to the hot broth or sauce using a slotted spoon or that round, screened thing on a stick (I can never remember what it's called).

Arugula! Yes, I was thinkng of that but couldn't for the life of me recall the name.

Orzo makes a nice pasta for the soup. If I can find a good whole wheat version, I may give it a try. Most WW pasta is pretty off-putting, but some Italian WW pastas are excellent.

There's a take-away place near where I'm going later, and sometimes they have a wedding soup on the menu. If they do, I may get a container and examine it for ingredients.
post #10 of 10
that round, screened thing on a stick (I can never remember what it's called).

CHINESE SPIDER
USUALLY SUPPLIED WITH A WOK FOR WONTONS EGGROLLS ETC.
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