Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Italian Wedding Soup

Life at our cabin in the winter means  watching the snow fall while sitting in front of the fireplace with our family, friends, or just my husband and myself.  I love to have a pot of hot soup on the stove and the aroma filling the house.  Italian Wedding Soup got it's name from the Italian phrase si sposono bene, which means two things are married.  The marriage is of the meat and the greens in a clear broth.  This soup has become a tradition at Italian weddings in the United States.  but not in Italy.  Here is a simple and tasty recipe that serves 6 .  For convenience, I suggest making meatballs and baking meatballs in advance.  I mix and form the meatballs and bake in a 13x9 foil pan lined with aluminum foil and sprayed lightly with cooking spray.  When slightly cooled, put in a freezer bag and you can put right into your soup when ready to make.  Simple!  

For meatballs you need:
1/2 pound ground pork or turkey
1/2 ground beef
1 slightly beaten egg
1 cup of grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup breadcrumbs
2 tablespoons parsley (optional)
Salt and Pepper to taste

Combine in a bowl and mix ad for with your hands into small meatballs.  Bake at 350 for approximately 45-50 minutes or until done. Freeze if not using immediately.  Thaw in a zip lock bag as many as you will use for your soup in the refrigerator overnight if frozen.  

For soup:
2 teaspoons extra virgin oil
1 cup prechopped onion and celery
4-5 cups chicken broth
Approx. 2 cups small pasta like shells, orzo,  or ditalini pasta
1 package (5 ounces) baby spinach (can use frozen if fresh not available but I suggest using half box)
1/2 finely grated Parmesan cheese

To Make:
Heat 1 teaspoon oil in large pot over medium heat.  Add celery and onions and cook, stirring until softened.  Add remaining 1 teaspoon oil to pan and increase heat to medium-high.  Add broth and 2 cups water and bring to a boil.  Stir in as many meatballs as you would like (suggest 12-15) .  Stir in pasta and cook, stirring occasionally until just tender.  6 - 7 minutes.  Gradually stir in spinach and cook for about 2-3 minutes more.  Stir in 1/4 cup of the cheese until just combined.  Season with salt and pepper.  
Ladle into soup bowls and top evenly with remaining 1/4 cup cheese.  . Serve with a hearty Italian bread and your favorite white wine.  Buon Appetito! ! And don't forget dessert!  Warm brownies anyone?  

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