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Italian Wedding Soup (Italian Meatball Soup)

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Serves 4 to 6

  • by from The Great Meat Cookbook

Italian wedding soup, or minestra maritata, doesn’t really have much to do with weddings at all. It’s said to get its name from the “marriage” of the ingredients—meat, greens, and noodles or eggs.

For the meatballs
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped onion
  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 tsp. minced garlic
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup fresh bread crumbs made from rustic white bread
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
  • 6 oz. ground beef (85% lean), home-ground or store-bought
  • 6 oz. ground pork or Italian sausages, removed from the casings
  • 1/4 lb. ground veal or turkey
For the soup
  • 3 quarts homemade chicken stock or best quality canned low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 lb. escarole, spinach, chard, or curly endive, washed and coarsely chopped
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 Tbs. freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, plus more for garnish
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
Make the meatballs

Combine all the ingredients in a large bowl, mixing quickly and gently. Do not overmix, or the meatballs will be rubbery. Roll the mixture into 1-inch balls. (You should have 22 to 24 meatballs.)

For the soup

Bring the stock to a boil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add the meatballs and escarole, reduce the heat to a simmer, and cook until the meatballs are cooked through and the escarole is tender, 5 to 8 minutes.

While the meatballs and escarole are cooking, whisk the eggs and cheese in a medium bowl to blend. Turn off the heat and, stirring the soup in one direction, drizzle in the egg mixture to form thin ribbons of egg. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

To serve, ladle the soup into bowls, dividing the meatballs evenly. Garnish each serving with more cheese and some parsley.

Photo: Luca Trovato

Incredibly simple and makes a lovely, comforting soup. I have the pickiest children ever born, and I'm all for any meal that they willingly eat greens in. I have added this to my short list of soup staples. It's very nice with a rustic italian bread for dipping.

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