09 December 2012

Italian Wedding Soup

Winter days call for the comfort of soup with a heartiness of a full meal. As we creep into December I found myself with a craving for Italian Wedding Soup.  I'd only had the soup once before, when I was 18.  This was just before the meat-free decade that was my 20's.  I'd always remembered this soup, both for the romance of its name and the idea of a peasant-style soup being the thing that would be served on a special occasion.

During my years as a veg head, well-meaning people would often ask me if I missed meat.  "What about bacon?" being the most common. I couldn't satisfy them, until one day I satisfied myself with a turkey sandwich.  This soup, however stuck in my memory all of those years. It is one of those soups that can't quite be made into a non-meat version with any sense.  So here you have it, twenty-years on I've made my first Italian Wedding Soup.  It couldn't have been simpler.
Italian Wedding Soup
Adapted, significantly, from the Barefoot Contessa
Serves 4

1 lb. Italian sausage, casings removed (approximately 4 fat links, I used 2 sweet and 2 hot and combined the meat)
1/4 cup bread crumbs
2 tablespoons parmesan cheese
salt and pepper
1 teaspoon olive oil

2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup finely chopped yellow onion
1/2 cup diced carrots (1-2 carrots),
1/3 cup diced celery (1 stalk)
5 cups chicken stock
1/2 cup small pasta such ancini di pepe
1 bay leaf 
6 ounces baby spinach, washed and trimmed
salt and pepper
1/4 cup finely grated parmesan cheese

For the meatballs, remove sausages from casings and combine hot and sweet sausage meat in a bowl with bread crumbs, Parmesan, salt and pepper in a bowl and combine.  Form into 1 inch meatballs. Add oil to a large saute pan and cook on medium heat until browned on all sides and cooked through, about 7-8 minutes.  Remove from pan to plate lined with paper towel to absorb excess oil.  Set aside. 

For the soup, heat the olive oil over medium-low heat in a deep, heavy-bottomed soup pot or saucepan. Add the onion, carrots, and celery and saute until softened, 5 to 6 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the chicken stock and bay leaf and bring to a boil. Add the pasta to the simmering broth and cook for 6 to 7 minutes, until the pasta is nearly tender. Add the meatballs to the soup and simmer for another 2-3 minutes.  Stir in the fresh spinach and cook for 1 minute more, until the spinach is just wilted.

Ladle into soup bowls and sprinkle each serving with extra grated Parmesan.

1 comment :

  1. Your blog about Italian soup is really awesome. I love this recipe very much.I will definitely try this recipe. I like Italian culture, tradition, italian food etc . Last summer I have visited Italy as well as I have visited Italian restaurant. I have enjoyed Italian food very much.


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