1 ounce can of chicken broth (homemade turkey or chicken broth is best if I have it)
1 package of small pasta, cooked (I use Orzo or Ditalia or Tortellini)
1 package of fresh spinach, cooked and drained
1 pound of ground beef, or pork, or turkey
½ cup fresh bread crumbs (or I used stale Italian bread soaked in hot water and squeezed)
2 cloves of garlic, minced
¼ onion, chopped small
¼ cup Parmesan cheese, grated
¼ Romano cheese, grated
salt and pepper to taste
2 tablespoons olive oil
Parmesan cheese for garnish
1. Oven 350 degrees.
2. In a large bowl combine the ground beef, pork and veal, bread crumbs, cheeses, garlic, onion, egg and salt and pepper. Mix well. Shape into meatballs about 1 inch size. In a large baking pan, lined with aluminum foil, grease with olive oil. Bake meatballs about 25 minutes or until browned all around. Drain the fat and set aside.
3. In a large pot put chicken soup and add the cooked and drained spinach. Add meatballs. Heat thoroughly. Simmer about 10 minutes.
4. Serve with pasta. Do not put pasta in the soup pot or it will absorb all the
liquid. Put soup in bowl and then add pasta according to the amount you desire.
4. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese. Serves 6 to 8.
ENJOY – It’s a soup and it’s a meal.
Years ago, when I wrote a American food column for a Japanese magazine, my editor called me one day and said she went into an Italian delicatessen and saw this soup. Being very curious, she tried it, liked it and then asked me if I made it. The version she had from the delicatessen was made with escarole instead of the spinach I use.
Let me give you some background as to how this recipe came about for me. I have been making this updated version as long as I can remember. My family would sometimes serve this soup as a first dish on Christmas Eve or Christmas day and I continued the tradition to this day. The recipe that I grew up on had escarole and chicory in the soup with pork or beef meatballs. The chicory and escarole, two different Italian greens, have a very bitter taste. My children didn’t like the bitter taste and neither did I. So, I substituted spinach instead of the escarole. My husband loves the escarole. It is all personal taste.
Where did this name come from? I asked a lot of Italian ladies about the origin of this name. Nobody could help me. The answer was the same; “I don’t know but my mother always made it”. Like a modern woman that I am I turned to the Internet. What I like about the Internet I also hate about the Internet. Do a search on anything and you will be given pages and pages on the subject to scan through and look at. It gives me a headache. I want 3 to 7 choices of web pages to look for something not 307. Anyway, if you put in Italian wedding soup you will be surprised how many places it will show up. The Italian name for this recipe is Minestra Maritata. It means two things go well together, they are maritati, i.e. married. The two ingredients contained in the soup go well together meaning the meat and the greens. No wedding is involved. After reading quite a bit of material on the subject, I know more about Italian wedding soup then I will ever need to know and about 100 different ways to make it. To be honest with you I think the simpler the better is good for a recipe. Make your own choice of how to cook Italian wedding soup, but I choose my recipe for me because it is the easiest!
No need to be married to enjoy Italian wedding soup, just have a hearty appetite.