Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Italian Wedding Soup

Sometimes you just really want a good soup for dinner.
Italian Wedding Soup is homey, comforting, and pretty easy: cook meatballs in broth, add greens, pasta/egg/Parmesan (depending on the recipe) and voila! Dinner.

I am not Italian. I have never been to an Italian wedding.
I don't really know what it's like, but I have my suspicions.

Make no mistake- this is, of course, the reception part of the wedding...
Bouffants are definitely wedding-appropriate.

Back to the soup...
The most special thing is the meatballs- bite-sized and flavorful ones that will fit on a spoon.

If you're lucky enough to have small assistants (gnomes, leprechauns, and children included in this category) you may want to use them here. If someone needs a project to keep them occupied this could be really good... it's also good for working on fine motor control, tactile defensiveness, matching/similarity, and counting skills. However, helper appropriateness does depend on whether people are used to licking their hands (not recommended here), touching everything with those hands before washing them, and also on attention span (of course).

It makes, hyperbole aside, (roughly) one billion meat balls (which- as a side note- causes me to imagine the non-Italian Carl Sagan saying, "...billions and billions of stars...")

This recipe comes from Giada de Laurentiis's book Giada's Family Dinners. You could actually find it online at www.foodnetwork.com (which is a great resource if you're looking for something specific), but I have it all typed out for you here!

Escarole is a ruffled leafy green. It looks like lettuce, but it's not so tender. In my opinion, it's better after being cooked a bit.

These would be great in the soup- I may cook some next time, put it in the bottom of a bowl and ladle the soup on top.

I'd recommend at least doubling the meatballs (even if you don't plan on doubling the whole recipe), as they are the most time consuming things to make! You end up making many if you make them small enough, but also because a single recipe calls for 1/2 pound each of sausage and ground beef and it's more likely to be found in 1 pound increments.

Why not get a whole bunch done at once? I was able to make 173 meatballs with the doubled recipe. Meatballs freeze nicely, so you're ahead of the game next time you want to have this soup. Just freeze the meatballs on a pan and throw half of them into a freezer bag!

Awww. Aren't accordions romantic? They really set the mood.

Italian Wedding Soup
serves 8

1 small onion, grated
1/4 c chopped flat leaf parsley
1 large egg
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 t salt
1/4 t freshly ground black pepper
1/2 c freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 c plain dried bread crumbs
8 oz lean ground beef
8 oz ground pork

10 c reduced sodium chicken broth
1 lb. escarole, coarsely chopped
2 large eggs
2/3 c freshly grated Parmesan cheese
salt and freshly ground black pepper

To make meatballs: In large mixing bowl stir together onion, parsley, egg, garlic, salt, and pepper. Stir in cheese and bread crumbs. Using hands, mix in ground pork and beef. Shape mixture into 1 inch meatballs, making approximately 75 balls. Place on a baking sheet.

To make soup: Bring the broth to a boil in a large pot over medium-high. Add the meatballs and escarole and simmer until meatballs are cooked through and escarole is tender- about 10 minutes. In medium bowl whisk together egg and cheese. Add egg mixture to the soup slowly, stirring with a fork to form thin strands of egg, about 1 minute. Season the soup to taste with salt and pepper.


  1. Maybe someday we'll treat you to a REAL Italian wedding. No accordion, no bouffants, and no big hair ladies - promise.

    You Americans just don't understand us I-talians. Just suspicions...