I was researching Italian Wedding Soup this morning searching for a classic rendition. I couldn’t find any two alike. I did learn that many Italians grow up calling the soup Escarole Soup although the most popular versions I found called for spinach as opposed to escarole. Wedding soup like Chili lends itself to all different variations. Create your own secret family recipe tonight! Here are a few ideas!
The meatballs can be made from ground beef, ground turkey, ground pork, ground chicken, chicken sausage, or even pork sausage, ground lamb. Pick two and combine them for an interesting flavor.
Season the meatballs with fresh sage, mint, dill, basil.
Use orzo, star pasta,ditalini or tubetini or choose not to include the starch in the soup.
Add body and texture with spinach, escarole or kale.
The possibilities seem endless.
Wedding Soup at Robin’s House
For the meatballs:
1 lb ground chicken
1 lb ground pork
3/4 cup bread crumbs
2 1/2 teaspoons minced garlic
3 tablespoons chopped fresh sage
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley leaves
1 large handful shredded parmesan
1 extra large egg beaten
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
For the soup:
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large yellow onion minced
1 cup diced carrots, cut into 1/4 inch pieces (3 carrots)
1 cup diced celery, cut into 1/4 inch pieces (3 stalks)
10 to 12 cups chicken stock
2/3 cup dry white wine
2 cups of orzo
1/4 cup minced fresh dill
12 ounces baby spinach, washed and trimmed
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
For the meatballs, place the ground chicken and the ground pork in a large mixing bowl add bread crumbs, garlic, parsley, sage, Parmesan, egg and 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper and combine with a fork or be like me and mix this with your hands. A little messy, yes, but, everything gets combined better. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and begin forming little meatballs. I use about a teaspoon of the mixture because I like to make really small meatballs so more fit in a bowl but, if you are pressed for time a tablespoon of mixture will make fewer meatballs but, still delicious! Bake for between 20 and 30 minutes depending on the size, they should be cooked through and lightly browned. Set aside.
In the meantime, for the soup, heat the olive oil over medium-low heat in a large heavy-bottomed soup pot. Add the onion, carrots, and celery and saute until softened, 5 to 6 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the chicken stock and wine and bring to a boil. Add the orzo to the simmering broth and cook for 6 to 8 minutes, until the pasta is tender. Add the fresh dill and then the meatballs to the soup and simmer for 1 minute. Taste the soup and add salt and pepper as desired. Stir in the fresh spinach and cook for 1 minute, until the spinach is wilted. Ladlel into soup bowls and sprinkle each serving with extra Parmesan.