Here in Northwest Indiana we’ve had our first big snowstorm of the season, and along with the snow has come some pretty frigid temperatures. It’s also an NFL playoff weekend. So, the menu is all about comfort food and NOT spending hours in the kitchen. I mean c’mon – the New York Giants are (hopefully) going to kick the butts of the Green Bay Packers, and I don’t plan on spending the day cooking! Sorry Lambeau Field faithful, but I’m a lifelong Bears fan so the Pack has to go down in flames this weekend!
All righty, enough football talk and on to the food. Today I’m making Italian Wedding Soup. I have to laugh every time I say the name. Growing up, my Grandma Philomena made this soup. We called it vegetable soup with meatballs. I guess Italian Wedding Soup sounds much more hi-brow. Oh, and for the record, I’ve never had this soup at an Italian wedding. And I’ve been to plenty of Italian weddings (including my own and my sister’s)!
It seems each family has their own spin on well-known recipes, and Italian Wedding Soup is no exception. Here’s how I make ours….
Italian Wedding Soup
- ½ pound ground beef
- ½ pound ground pork
- 2 eggs
- ½ cup plain bread crumbs
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 small onion, minced
- ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 3 TBSP parsley, minced
- Salt & Pepper to taste
- 2 quarts chicken stock
- 1 quart water
- 3-4 large carrots, thick cut discs
- 1 pound fresh spinach, rough chop
- 1-½ TBSP tomato paste
- ½ c cup Acini de Pepe or Orzo pasta
- Salt & Pepper to taste
- Parmesan cheese to garnish
Place chicken stock and water in a stock pot with the tomato paste, carrots, salt & pepper. Bring to a low boil.
While the stock and vegetables are coming to a boil, mix ground beef and pork, egg, bread crumbs, garlic, parmesan, parsley, salt & pepper in a bowl and form into small meatballs, approximately 1-1/2 inches in diameter.
With the soup at a low boil, add the meatballs and then the spinach. Simmer until meatballs are cooked through and the carrots are tender, approximately 40 minutes. Then, add the ½ cup pasta and simmer until al dente – about 10 minutes.
Serve with grated parmesan cheese and crusty Italian bread.
Note: You can substitute kale, escarole or other greens for the spinach if you like.
One more note: Personally, I think the soup is best the next day after the flavors have had a chance to blend in the stock. But whether you decide to wait a day or dive right in, you won’t be disappointed by this simple, delicious soup!