I had never heard of Italian Wedding Soup before. I grew up on the west coast and although we had a large Italian population in the valley I had never come across it. Recently, I saw it canned in the stores under the Progresso brand.
I did a little research on the soup. It is not a soup that is served at an Italian wedding but instead a mistranslation of the Italian name "Minestra maritata" which translates to married soup. The soup originated in southern Italy and the name came from the marrying of the flavor of meat and greens.
The main ingredients in the soup are the meatballs, greens, carrots and chicken broth. Many recipes also add pasta or egg.
I used ground beef as my meat of choice for the meatballs. They have a wonderful flavor from cinnamon and allspice. I haven't made many savory dishes which use these spices so this soup was a new flavor adventure for me. Now I want to try more dishes. They were wonderful with the bitter green arugula.
Several Slow Soupers recommended baking the meatballs instead of frying. You can bake them instead at 375 degrees for 20 minutes. I want to try that next time. My soup ended up a little fatty. My meatballs also burned a little bit so my soup ended up darker than several others. I also omitted the bacon.
It is perfect to warm you up on a icy cold December evening.
Italian Wedding Soup
2 eggs beaten
1/2 cup grated Parmesan
1/2 cup Italian bread crumbs
3 tablespoons chopped Italian parsley
3 cloves minced garlic
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 pound ground turkey (or ground meat of choice)
2 tablespoons olive oil
spices: 3/4 teaspoon black pepper, 1 teaspoon allspice, 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg, 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, 1 teaspoon salt
Mix everything together, and roll into 1″ balls. Saute in the olive oil until lightly browned on the outside. Set aside.
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup chopped carrots
1 cup chopped onions
1/2 cup chopped celery
3 cloves minced garlic
3 diced strips of turkey bacon (or regular bacon)
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons Marsala wine
2 quarts of chicken stock
1 cup orzo
1 tablespoon dried oregano
4 fresh leaves of basil, chopped
3 cups of arugula
1/2 cup shredded Parmigiano for garnish
Saute the onions, celery, carrots, and garlic in large soup pot for 5 - 6 minutes. Add the turkey bacon and the balsamic vinegar, and let all the flavors mix and blend.
Add the Marsala and let this cook down a little. When it is almost evaporated, add the chicken stock, orzo, meatballs, and oregano. Simmer this for about 15 minutes, til the orzo is soft.
Add the basil and arugula and cook for about 1 more minute. Serve with a sprinkling of Parmigiano for garnish.