Monday, January 24, 2011

Italian Wedding Soup

My first experience with Italian wedding soup came when I was around 10 years old or so. My mom was dating an Italian man whose mother was one of those Italian grandmotherly types you always hear about -- she hovered in her kitchen for hours cooking mouthwatering, authentic Italian food. I can still remember the taste of her pizelles.

One evening Mom’s boyfriend brought over a huge pot of Italian wedding soup his mother had made for us, and I remember...not liking it very much at all. Maybe it was the spinach that inspired my disdain, because my love affair with that particular green vegetable didn’t begin until I was well into adulthood. I’m sure if I could taste that soup now, with my more grown-up palate, I’d love it -- because I certainly loved the Italian wedding soup I made it for us recently.

Joe comes from an Italian background, too, and he’s always loved Italian wedding soup. He’d been bugging me to make it for a while, and I finally gave in. I’m so glad he annoyed me about this (but don’t tell him I said that), because we all really loved this soup. I can get my boys to eat pretty much anything that contains ditalini pasta, because they like sticking their fingers through it and eating it right off their hands -- they’re such goofballs -- but in the case of this soup, they actually ate the other components too...even the spinach! That, my friends, is what I call a WIN.

This soup is flavorful, colorful, hearty, and delicious. It’s pretty quick, too, as far as soups go. The brand of Italian sausage I bought had a little too much fennel in it for my tastes, but I think I was the only one who felt that way. I’ll definitely be making this again.

Italian Wedding Soup
slightly adapted from heidikins cooks

For the meatballs:

1 pound Italian sausage
1 egg, slightly beaten
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/3 cup Italian bread crumbs
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
Salt and black pepper to taste

For the soup:

2 to 3 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
3 to 4 cloves garlic, minced

3 carrots, shredded
4 celery ribs, chopped
2 bay leaves
8 cups chicken stock
2 cups milk1
1/2 cups ditalini pasta
4 to 5 ounces baby spinach

1. Mix meatball ingredients.

2. Heat olive oil in large stock pot and saute onion and garlic until soft. Add carrots and celery and saute another few minutes. Meanwhile, with wet hands, start forming small meatballs -- about 3/4 inches across.

3. Add chicken stock and milk to vegetables and bring to a boil. Drop meatballs into boiling soup, add pasta, and let it boil about 8 minutes; reduce heat. Let simmer 10 to 15 minutes. Add spinach, and when the spinach is wilted the soup is done. Garnish with parmesan cheese, if desired.



Allison said...

I don't think it's because it's lunch stomach just growled hard-core. This looks delicious! We haven't ventured into soup with E yet, but might try this one!

Janice said...

Hi!! I love your blog. There is much creativity and love what you do.