Italian Wedding Soup
We’re getting married in ~6 weeks! Neither of us are Italian. Do Italians really serve this at weddings? Whatever, the soup is tasty and I wanted meatballs in this week’s soup. I found Ina Garten’s Italian Wedding Soup recipe and made a few adjustments based on what I had, could find at the store, and felt like eating.
On Sundays, I generally make a pot of soup that’s good for ~2 nights of weeknight dinner, 2 portions for the freezer and maybe a lunch or two. The other nights include chopped salad with a grilled protein, family dinners or meals out. This one is definitely going into our weekly soup rotation.
Even better, I’ve found my new meatball recipe. They’re quick and easy (they’re baked in the oven), crispy yet tender inside without being too mushy or too firm. You don’t even have to get your hands dirty–I used a 1 inch cookie scoop. I tested half where I rolled them into round balls and left the other half kind of rough. The unrolled balls had more nooks and crannies to crisp up in the oven for a better texture. Of course, when I threw them into the soup it didn’t make much of a difference at all, so why bother getting your hands dirty?
The surprising thing about this soup for me was the use of fresh dill. As a kid, I remember being mortified that my mom would pull over on the side of the road to pick fresh dill growing out of the concrete. “It’s free!” she would excitedly exclaim while I shrunk down in my seat hoping none of my classmates would pass by. I also remember not liking the taste and begging my mom not to use dill in her soups and fishballs. She told me it wouldn’t taste as good without the dill but always made me a special portion without dill. I might normally skip the dill out of habit but the reviews mentioned that the soup was dull without it. They were right and either I’ve grown up or my taste buds have.
The original recipe calls for a combination of ground chicken and chicken sausage. However, Whole Foods didn’t have any and I didn’t feel like grinding my own meat. Instead, I substituted ground turkey thighs and spicy Italian pork sausage. For spaghetti & meatballs, I might use ground beef or veal with spicy Italian sausage. It doesn’t really matter…
Italian Wedding Soup
(Recipe adapted from Ina Garten)
- 3/4 lb ground meat
- 1/2 lb sausage, casings removed
- 2/3 cup bread crumbs
- 2-3 cloves minced garlic
- 3 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley
- 1/2 cup grated Parmesan and/or Pecorino Romano cheese
- 3 Tbsp milk
- 2 eggs
- 1 tsp Kosher salt
- 1/2 tsp pepper
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 minced onion
- 3 carrots, diced
- 2 celery stalks, diced
- 10-12 cups chicken stock
- 1/2 cup dry white wine or sake
- 1/2 cup small pasta
- 1/4 cup fresh minced dill
- 1 bunch sturdy greens (kale, spinach, chard)
- Preheat oven to 350F
- Combine all meatball ingredients into a bowl and mix well. Hands are useful here. Using teaspoon or cookie scoop, drop ~1 inch meatballs onto a lined sheet pan. You’ll have ~40 meatballs. Bake for 30 minutes until lightly browned.
- In a large heavy bottomed pot, heat olive oil over medium-low heat. Add onions, carrots and celery until softened, stirring occasionally (5-7 minutes).
- Add chicken stock and wine. Bring to a boil.
- Reduce to a simmer and add pasta until tender (6-8 minutes).
- Add dill and meatballs. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Stir in greens. When they’re cooked, you’re ready to serve!