~ "By wisdom a house is built, and through understanding it is established; Through knowledge its rooms are filled with rare and beautiful treasures." ~ "Reckless words pierce like a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing" ~ "But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy." ~ "Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths."~

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Italian Wedding Soup...Perfect for a Cold Winter Day

Italian Wedding Soup...Perfect for a Cold Winter Day. Starting off the new year, I thought I would share a pretty neat soup recipe that has quickly become one of my favorites... Italian Wedding Soup. The actual soup consists of a clear broth with some green vegetables, such as endive, escarole, kale, spinach, cabbage, etc. Meat is also added, usually in the form of meatballs. It can also contain pasta. The Italian name for the soup, Minestra Maritata, implies only that the soup ingredients "marry" or go well together. It really isn't served at weddings...it was just a mistranslation. For this recipe, I used Giada De Laurentiis's recipe as a guide to make the Italian Wedding Soup, but I also looked over Ina Garten's recipe as well. I have seen this recipe on many blogs and have been wanting to make it for a long time. Since we have been having quite a cold spell around here, I thought this soup would warm us up a bit. The picture doesn't look that appealing, but this soup has got to be one of my new favorites. We are so used to eating Romanian soups, and this soup was a nice change...we actually really, really liked it. The soup is a more like an elegant version of a chicken noodle soup, at least it sort of tastes that way.You know, it really isn't a fancy soup, but it is pure comfort food. I must say, that I made this soup using my homemade chicken stock. I can't vouch for the store-bought kind. It might be just as good..but then, I wouldn't know. The chicken stock is so easy to do at home, that it doesn't tempt me to buy the ready-made kind. Either way, I hope you will give this soup a try. I looked at various soup recipes on various sites.... but ended up combining Giada's and Ina's recipe to make my own version. Since I made my own stock, I had plenty of chicken meat to make the meatballs with. Of course, I ended substituting ground chicken for the ground pork/beef. I think that makes perfect sense:) There was more than enough meat for the meatballs. You can use half of the chicken meat to make the meatballs and reserve the rest of the meat for another use. I ended up grinding the whole amount of meat and making the meatballs with it ...however, I did not use all of the meatball mixture for the soup. I reserved some for another use. Did I confuse you, yet?:)...Basically, you need about a pound of meat to make the meatballs...and I had about 2 pounds. Gosh, sometimes I make things so complicated...and they are not! Forgive me if I've confused you....if need be, just make Giada's or Ina's recipe, and you will be all right:)....
The pasta will soak some of the liquid as it sits... as leftovers. If you want, you can use smaller types of pasta.
If you don't want big leafy pieces of spinach, opt for chopping them.

You will need:
12 cups chicken stock (preferably homemade...that is what I used)
Chicken meatballs: This makes more than enough meatballs for the amount of liquid, I reserved some of the ground seasoned meat for another use. You can, likewise, cut the recipe in half or use more meatballs in your soup.
2 lbs chicken, ground*~you could, likewise, use ground turkey
1/3 cup onion, grated
1-2 TBS chopped fresh Italian parsley, or 1-2 tsp dried
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/3 cup fresh white bread crumbs
1/3 cup grated Parmesan
a couple of pinches of pepper (+/-)
*I had a whole chicken and used the bones to make my stock... with the meat, I ended up grinding it to make my meatballs. That's when my Kitchen-Aid grinder attachment comes in very handy:) The amount of ground chicken from a medium-sized whole chicken=about 2 lbs, at least according to my calculation.
Extra ingredients:
8 oz bag of fresh spinach
1 cup farfalle pasta (or pasta of choice, you might not need to add so much if the pasta is smaller)
1-2 eggs, beaten (this can be omitted)
1-2 TBS Parmesan cheese

To make the meatballs: Stir the meatball ingredients in a bowl.
Mix with your hands to blend it well.
Shape the meat mixture into 1-inch-diameter meatballs... about 1 1/2 teaspoons.
Place in a bowl or on a baking sheet....I usually form a few ahead and continue making them as I place them in the hot soup.
But you can make them all ahead, and then make the soup.
To make the soup:
~I always make my own homemade chicken stock...its cheaper, and the taste does not compare to the store bought. I cut my chicken up, then de-bone it. I use the wings and rest of the bones to make the stock. By adding a couple of stalks of celery, a couple of carrots and an onion along with some salt, the stock comes together quite nicely. Bring it to a boil and simmer it for 1-2 hours.
The meat from the chicken (dark and white) I grind in my grinder~
Bring the chicken broth to a boil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add the meatballs and simmer until the meatballs are cooked through... about 8-10 minutes.
Add the bag of spinach...Bring the soup back up to a boil. Whisk the eggs and cheese in a medium bowl to blend. Stir the soup in a circular motion. Gradually drizzle the egg mixture into the moving broth, stirring gently with a fork to form thin strands of egg, about 1 minute.
Season the soup to taste with salt and pepper. Ladle the soup into bowls and serve. Right before serving, sprinkle some Parmesan cheese if desired.


Speranta said...

Hi Ellie.

Am incerat retete de la tine
toate mi-au esit bine .
Si supa acasta am sa-o incerc cred ca este delicioasa.
Multunesc Foarte mult

Ellie said...

Cu placere!... iti multumesc ca mai visitat, si mai ales ca a mers din retetele pe care le-ai incercat. Imi pare foarte bine:) Supa a fost foarte delicioasa!~Ellie