Monday, January 16, 2012

Italian Wedding Soup

What is Italian Wedding Soup? I always assumed that it was something that authentic Italians ate at Italian weddings. I equated it in my mind to the Groom's Cake in Southern weddings, a longstanding tradition that you do not question, you just let your groom's imagination and taste buds run wild, and in the end create an entertaining conversation piece for your wedding guests. However, after doing some extensive research (aka...wikipedia!) I now know that I was wrong, so very wrong!

My ever loyal sous chefs, Cort and Shafer! 

Italian Wedding Soup actually has nothing to do with the happy marriage between two people in love. Rather, the original Italian name for the soup, minestra maritata, refers to the happy marriage between ingredients. I agree fully with this accurate translation. The flavors and textures in this soup are wonderfully balanced, and "marry" well. I love this version which is creamier than any canned variety you will ever find. This is also incredibly economical. The ingredients cost about $15 and includes many things that you have on hand, and serves at least 8 servings. Enjoy with hearty thick bread on a chilly evening.

This recipe is brought to you by: The Kitchn, a super cute food blog.

Another beautiful and creative person in my life is just amazing me with her fun creations! Adrienne Norwood Dougherty has the most adorable Etsy shop where she makes custom made banners. Here is an example that she made for our 100th post celebratory dinner. Please check out her little shop and get in contact with her if you want something sweet and handmade to make an evening turn into a special event! Here is the link: Hawthorne Ave Arts and Vintage!

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3/4 pound of ground beef (you can also use ground chicken, turkey or pork)
1/2 cup of dry bread crumbs (I used Italian)
3 large eggs (one used on its own and 2 used together)
1 cup of freshly shredded Parmesan, divided into 1/2 cups
1 teaspoon of dried oregano, or 1 tablespoon of fresh oregano, chopped
1 teaspoon of salt
1/2 teaspoon of ground black pepper
3 tablespoon of olive oil, divided
1 medium yellow onion, diced (per usual in the Curnes house...I omitted the onions)
4 cloves of garlic, minced
8 cups of chicken stock
3 cups of spinach
2 cups of cooked orzo pasta
Dash of red pepper flakes (optional)
Squirt of fresh lemon juice (optional)

1. Combine the ground meat, bread crumbs, one egg, 1/2 cup of the cheese, oregano, salt and pepper in a large bowl.

2. Mix these ingredients together (I used my hands..this is a recipe where you really have to get your hands dirty!).

3. With your hands, form the mixture into 1 inch balls. I ended up with about 20. You want them to be smaller rather than larger because these should be bite sized and they should be able to fit on the spoon size that you will use while eating the soup.

4. In a large skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of the oil over medium high heat.
5. Add the meatballs to the oil in about 3 batches (you do not want to overcrowd the pan), and cook until browned all over. They might still be a bit pink in the center, and that is okay because they will keep cooking once you add them to the broth.

6. Once browned on all sides, place the balls on paper towels so that the excess oil is absorbed.

7. In a large soup pot, heat the remaining tablespoon of oil over medium high heat and add the onion and garlic, and saute until they soften but not browned. About 5 minutes.

Again...note the absence of onions here. It turned out delicious without them and my husband was happy!

8. Add the stock to the onions and garlic and bring to a boil.

9. Add the spinach.

10. Reduce the heat to low and then cover and simmer for about 10 minutes.
11. Add the meatballs and cook for another 5 minutes at least (I didn't plan mine simmered at a very low temperature for a bit.

12. While this is cooking, use a small bowl to combine the two eggs and remaining cheese. Stir to combine.

13. While stirring constantly, slowly pour the egg and cheese mixture into the hot soup.

14. Add in the fully cooked pasta.

15. Cover and let simmer for about one more minute.
16. I also added a dash of red pepper flakes for spice and a generous squirt of lemon juice to brighten the flavors.
17. Serve and enjoy with hearty bread!

1 comment:

  1. Your blog about Italian soup is really awesome. I love this recipe very much.I will definitely try this recipe. I like Italian culture, tradition, italian food etc . Last summer I have visited Italy as well as I have visited Italian restaurant. I have enjoyed Italian food very much. I like to drive car on Italy road.