Italian Wedding Soup

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Having just had a wedding, and having married an Italian, I thought it would be fitting to make Italian wedding soup for the first time. Italian wedding soup apparently has nothing to do with Italian weddings; it was mistranslated from the Italian ‘minestra maritata’ which means ‘married soup,’ because the ingredients all go so well together. I couldn’t agree more, and it has instantly become a favorite that I plan to make over and over again.

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James grew up having this soup made by his grandmother, and always called it ‘scarola soup’ in reference to the leafy green typically used, escarole. Many recipes note that you can substitute escarole with other greens, but I wanted to make sure to include it in my attempt to replicate the soup James remembered.

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For the broth:

2 quarts of chicken broth

2 sprigs dry thyme

1 small bay leaf

2 tablespoons olive oil

1/4 cup finely chopped onion

1 garlic clove, minced

1 large bunch of escarole (about 3 cups chopped)

1/4 cup orzo (optional)

2 eggs

1/4 cup Parmesan cheese

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For the meatballs:

1/2 pound ground beef

1/2 pound ground pork

2 tablespoons fresh oregano, finely minced

3/4 cup Italian parsley

1/2 white onion

1 garlic clove

1/2 cup Parmesan cheese

1/2 cup bread crumbs

1 egg

1 tablespoon salt

2 teaspoons pepper

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Finely chop the onion, garlic, parsley, and oregano. I like to use a small food processor to get the ingredients really finely chopped so that you don’t have any large pieces in the meatballs. Add chopped ingredients to a bowl with ground meats, salt, pepper, cheese, egg, and breadcrumbs. Mix gently with your hands, incorporating well but not overworking the meat. Roll into small bite sized meatballs, set aside. Note: if you find you have too many meatballs you can freeze some and use for later.

In a large soup pot heat up the olive oil and add the garlic and onion, sauté until translucent and tender. Add the chicken stock, thyme, and bay leaf to the pot. Let the broth come to a boil and gently add the meatballs. Let the meatballs cook for about 10 minutes, they will begin to float when cooked through. If you would like to add orzo you can add it at this time. Once meatballs are mostly done add the chopped escarole and let simmer until it has wilted down.

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Whisk the two eggs and cheese in a small bowl and slowly pour into the hot soup, whisking constantly to form ribbons. Serve in a large bowl, because you’ll want a lot of it, and feel it warm up your insides with deliciousness.

 

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