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Food: Italian Wedding Soup

April 14, 2011

I’m learning that good comfort food can take a long time – days of simmering, braising, melding, marrying. But, if you know what flavors you’re looking for, you can fake hours of preparation fairly convincingly. Yesterday I woke up craving Italian Wedding Soup, a chicken soup with meatballs and spinach, usually located between “minestrone” and “pasta e fagioli” on Italian-American dinner menus. The most time intensive part of this meal is the meatballs, but you don’t need to fuss with The Meatballs for soup, you can get by with a quick version. Likewise, you don’t need to spend hours making actual stock, good old College Inn (or any other broth) will do just fine. If you have one hour and the inclination, you can have pretty close to great Italian Wedding Soup.

Pretty Close to Great Italian Wedding Soup

Meatballs:
3/4lb ground beef
2 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
3/4 cup Italian breadcrumbs
1/2 cup grated parmesan
1 tsp salt
1 egg

Mix all ingredients together in a bowl with your hands until combined, do not over-mix. Shape into bite sized balls. Heat a large saute pan (you are going to add broth and noodles to this later), add a few tbsps olive oil. Add meatballs, turning with a spatula and cooking on medium heat until browned on the outside.

Soup:
2 x 32oz containers chicken broth
3 tbsps lemon juice
1 1/2 cup Pastina noodles
2 cups baby spinach leaves
1 cup grated parmesan

Add 1 and 1/2  containers of chicken broth to the pan with the meatballs still inside. Simmer meatballs for 45 minutes. Add pastina (or orzo, or acine de pepe) to broth, cook for ten minutes. Add more broth from second container, if needed/desired. Add salt to taste. Spoon soup into bowls, add spinach (it will wilt and cook itself in the hot liquid, almost immediately) and cheese to taste. Voila.

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