Monday, December 19, 2011

Italian Wedding Soup

Italian Wedding Soup
Italian Wedding soup has been served in my family as the first course at holiday dinners for as long as I can remember.  It wasn’t this version of the soup per say, as the one I remember involved a very large pot.  My mom used a whole chicken to make the soup entirely from scratch.  Meat from that chicken was then added to the soup to mingle with the tiny meatballs in my bowl.  And the meatballs incidentally were never made with ground turkey like I’ve implemented today to make the soup even healthier.  Back then, we called it scarole soup.  Now I realize that scarole was an obvious mispronunciation of escarole.  Escarole is a slightly bitter green popularly used in soups and salads on the Italian menu.  Today’s version uses spinach and kale as the green in place of escarole.  This soup can be thrown together in a fraction of the time of the original and makes a hearty meal when paired with a sandwich.  Now while this soup turned out incredibly well, in the end this version falls a bit short of the original.  The turkey meatballs were tasty but lacked the same flavor of the originals.  While this is certainly highly nutritious, easy to make week night meal, I’ll be using the original family recipe for my holiday gatherings in the future.  When all is said and done, it is hard to beat a classic.         

Ingredients for the Meatballs:

·         20 oz lean ground turkey
·         1 cup fresh gluten free bread crumbs
·         1 clove of garlic, finely minced or microplaned
·         1/2 cup grated pecorino romano
·         ¼ cup milk
·         1 egg
·         1 tbsp finely minced parsley
·         salt and pepper to taste

Ingredients for the Soup:

·         1 carrot, diced
·         1 stalk of celery, diced
·         1 onion, finely, diced
·         2 tbsp olive oil
·         8 cups of gluten free chicken broth
·         10 oz spinach, kale, or escarole (I used 5oz spinach  and 5 oz kale )
·         6 oz small shaped (gluten free) pasta , cooked 2 minutes shy of the package instructions

Video Tutorial:


1.      For the meatballs, in a large bowl break up the ground turkey with a fork and set it aside.
2.      In a smaller bowl combine, bread crumbs, garlic, pecorino, milk, egg, and parsley, with some salt and pepper to taste.  Once well combined, add the mixture to the bowl with the turkey and mix it until it is well incorporated.
3.      Form the meat mixture into tiny balls less than an inch in diameter and set them aside. 
4.      Now for the soup, in a large pot over a medium low heat, add the olive oil, diced carrot, onion and celery then sauté for 5-6 minutes or until the veggies are just softened but not browned. 
5.      Add the broth and bring it up to a boil then reduce the heat to a simmer and add the kale.  Drop the meatballs in one at a time and simmer for at least 5 minutes before gently stirring.  This waiting is done primarily to insure that the meatballs have firmed up and won’t break apart upon stirring.  Once the meatballs and kale have simmered for 10 minutes in total, add the spinach and pasta and allow the soup to simmer for an additional 2 minutes then the soup is ready to serve.  Top with additional pecorino if you’d like.

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