He ate it! He ate it! He who eschews all food except bread and pizza ate it!
I’m a little excited over here in case you can’t tell. Sunday was a stormy and rainy day here in South Florida. Grey weather outside. Air conditioning making the house cool enough to trick your body into thinking it is cool outside…and I had a hankering for soup. My families favorite - Italian Wedding Soup, and in case you missed it….Littledude ate it!
Interestingly enough, this “famous” Italian soup favored in many italian restaurants is virtually unknown in Italy itself. The term “wedding soup” is a mistranslation of the Italian language phrase “minestra maritata (“married soup”),” which is a reference to the fact that green vegetables and meats go well together. It’s one of those “americanized” fictional “Italian” dishes, along the lines of Ciopino (another family favorite I love to make). Regardless of the origins this is a simple soup full of yummy.
Traditionally made with Escarole or Endive, it can be made with Spinach, Kale or other greens, my family however is quite partial to using the nutrient dense and flavorful Swiss Chard. This soup is
a chicken broth base with greens and mini meatballs. Some people enjoy it with a small pasta along the lines of pastina or orzo as an addition (slightly more difficult to make Gluten Free) and then the finishing touches of beaten egg and grated cheese.
Ok so I have a few photos of my preparation, however I apologize that the most important and tasty step at the end – I do not have a photo of, or the finished product. By the time it was ready, everyone was sitting at the table staring at me drooling. Well, the kids ARE teething which could have in fact been the reason for the drool, but their enthusiasm for the meal was unparalleled, particularly of late where Littledude has been on a “bread only” hunger strike of sorts. Ahhhh toddlers. Suffice to say it was imperative I got this on the table and completely forgot about the final shots. Next time I make it I will add them.
“ITALIAN” WEDDING SOUP
- Chicken Broth
- Swiss Chard, stems cut out, rough chopped
- Gluten Free Orzo
- Eggs – 3
- Freshly Grated Locatelli Cheese (parmigiano reggiano works as well)
- Ground Pork and Ground Chuck – 1 pound of each
- Medium Onion – grated or finely minced
- Gluten Free Bread Crumbs
- Tomato Paste
- Italian Seasoning
- Salt & Pepper
I ended up using 3 chicken broths and could have really used a 4th (I always make a lot as it freezes well)
Bunch of beautiful organic Red Chard
A small sized pasta that is Gluten Free! Yea! I found this at Whole Foods. DELALLO GF Pastas are really great.
Get rid of the thick stem from the chard. It can be too tough for the soup, so get rid of the thick parts. I cleaned and used them for another simple dish great-Nonna used to make. Wash well, and rough chop the leaves. Meanwhile put the chicken broth in a large pot and set to medium. Now for the meatballs.
In this bowl are the following ingredients: 1 lb. of ground chuck, 1 lb. of ground pork (fat gives flavor) 1 egg, a squeeze of tomato paste from a tube, a pinch of thyme, a pinch of oregano and usually minced fresh Italian parsley…bad me I forgot so I added a pinch of dried. 1 medium onion grated, About 1/2 cup freshly grated cheese and about 1/2 cup gluten free breadcrumbs. Dash of Salt and Pepper. Mix together throughly with your hands until all ingredients are well combined. Now to make the meatballs.
This is the part that makes this dish slightly time intensive – or a “culinary labor of love”. Make very small meatballs. Bite-sized. I ended up with 2 trays. Here is where you have options.
For a smaller batch of soup – a total of 1 lb. of meat instead of 2, you can brown them in a skillet. However Nonna taught me to save time / mess and aggregation put them of lightly greased cookie sheets and put in oven. You don’t want to over cook them, but you don’t want to put raw meat in your soup, so cook them until they are lightly browned and almost cooked.
When they are lightly browned and cooked they should look like this. Meanwhile, while they are in the oven, add the chard to the chicken broth to let it begin to cook. When the meatballs come out I suggest using a slotted spoon to minimize the amount of grease going into the soup when you add the meatballs.
About 20 minutes before you are ready to serve add the pasta. You don’t want to overcook it, but note it will take longer to cook IN the soup then alone in boiling water. It will also suck up some of the liquid so make sure you have a good amount of broth in the pot.
Once the pasta is cooked, turn it down to simmer and prepare the last step. The one I didn’t take pictures of sorry.
Take 2 eggs and beat them – I do it directly in a measuring cup so it’s easier to pour. Add about 1/4 cup more grated cheese. Then right before serving pour it into the soup – IN LITTLE TINY AMOUNTS. Like you are “dropping” a bit in here and there, gently gently stiring it. The soup should be very hot and will cook the egg and cheese mixture. Serve while hot and add more grated cheese as desired.
We gobbled up at least 1/4 of what I made, the rest was divided into tupperware for re-heating in the next day or so, or to freeze for later yumminess. I served it to the little ones using a sotted spoon so it was less “soup” and more ingredients and easier for them to eat. Ladybug ate it all. Nonna had seconds. Littledude?
He had thirds!
Hmmmm, I’m hungry now. Guess what I am going into the kitchen to heat up?
**NOTE** If you find that overnight most of the liquid has been absorbed, you probably didn’t have enough chicken stock to start with. No worries. You can just add more stock/broth. OR eat it the way it is, still tastes great!