Soup is such a great meal to prepare, especially when it’s cold outdoors and you want something healthy and satisfying to eat.
I love soup! Growing up we had soup almost everyday, even in the summer. It’s just a great meal that is packed with vitamins, nutrition and taste. Coming home from school and walking into the house, I could always smell my mom’s (and sometimes my dad’s) delicious soup! Fresh vegetables and meats that were so aromatic, that I think that is what makes soup such a comfort food-it’s the taste and nostalgia.
Italian wedding soup is not an actual soup served at weddings (although I am sure it is served at many weddings) but it’s a soup that “marries all the flavors together” hence the word “wedding”. I assure you that once you make this soup, you will understand what I mean by “flavor”.
You can be flexible with your ingredients here too. You can prepare this soup using either vegetable or chicken broth. I used my go-to vegetable bouillon that is organic. It is quick and easy. Just dissolve the concentrate into water. Super easy.
Another feature about this concentrate is that it will last in your fridge for weeks and you make only what you need. To err on the side of salt cautious, I used 8 teaspoons of the concentrate for the 12 cups of water and it was perfect. You can use less or more or even use your own broth. This brand makes chicken broth too if you prefer to use it here.
When preparing the meatballs, make sure you add the meat in last, after you have thoroughly mixed the other ingredients. This will ensure the meatballs will not toughen from over mixing. Once you roll them into 1 or 2 inch balls, set them aside until the broth is ready.
Okay, so here is a pic of escarole. As you can see it looks very similar to romaine lettuce although it is a much hardier leaf. Look how pretty the green leaves are!
If you have spinach or curly endive, you may substitute that for the escarole. But, traditionally, escarole is the vegetable used.
So here are some interesting facts about escarole that may lift your eyebrow in a pleasant surprise. It contains vitamins A, B, C, D, E, K; also folate which helps produce new blood cells and protects and produces our DNA. The vitamin A in escarole can reduce the risk of developing heart disease and cancer. Vitamin A also helps treat macular degeneration of the eye and scleroderma, a condition of the skin characterized by hardening of skin tissue. It also contains trace minerals, magnesium, phospherous, iron, sodium and potassium. Not bad for such a green cutie! Plus it tastes delicious!
Here is a picture of the meatballs floating to the top. Yes, these cuties are ready! And so am I! Look how festive this soup looks-red and green for the holidays!
So no matter what ingredients you opt for this soup, just remember that it’s fresh, delicious, nutritious and you control the salt content; your heart will thank you for that. Another nice benefit of this recipe is that you can freeze what you don’t consume for another day. Now how convenient is that? Enjoy!
Delicious Italian Wedding Soup
For the Meatballs:
- 1 medium onion, peeled, quartered
- 1/3 cup fresh Italian parsley, finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon fresh basil, finely chopped
- 1/2 teaspoon fresh oregano, finely chopped
- 1 large egg
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
- 1/2 cup breadcrumbs
- 1/2 cup grated Parmesan
- 1 pound mix of ground, veal, pork and beef
For the Soup:
- 12 cups vegetable or chicken broth
- 2 cups carrots, cut 1/4 inch thick
- 1 pound escarole, coarsely chopped
- extra grated Parmesan cheese for topping on soup
To make the meatballs: Stir all the ingredients in a large bowl to blend except the meat. Make sure all of the ingredients are well combined. Then add in the meat and mix to combine until incorporated, making sure not to over mix. Using 1 1/2 teaspoons for each, shape the meat mixture into 1 or 2 inch-diameter meatballs. Place on a baking sheet and set aside. This makes roughly 34 meatballs.
To make the soup: Bring the broth to a boil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add in the carrots. Carefully add the meatballs into the broth. Then add in the escarole. Bring to a boil again and then lower to a simmer for about 12 minutes. Simmer until the meatballs are cooked through and the escarole is tender, The meatballs will float to the top when they are done.
Ladle the soup into bowls and serve. Finish soup with parmesan cheese if desired.