Minestra Maritata — Italian Wedding Soup

The first time I tasted this soup was several years ago, and I absolutely fell in love with it and I have been on somewhat of a quest ever since to capture or recapture the flavors that I experienced. Needless to say, my quest was in vain, and we won’t even talk about a canned soup, so I decided to recreate those flavors myself.

Italian Wedding Soup–the very name brings to mind a beautiful wedding doesn’t it? Not necessarily an Italian wedding, but a wedding just the same–where the  bride and groom anxiously await with sweet anticipation of  “the two becoming one flesh” in holy matrimony. Holy because God instituted this wonderful arrangement between a man and woman. However, oddly enough the history of this soup has nothing to do with the uniting of a man and woman in marriage, but it’s all about the ‘marriage’ of flavors–the full-bodied, rich flavors of the meat with the supple, delicate  flavors of the greens along with the other ingredients–which by the way, works out quite well…yes, a wonderful union indeed! Typically it’s made with ground sausage or a sausage and ground beef mix. You can just as easily use ground turkey or chicken. Generally baby spinach composes the greenery, but other greens  such as escarole, endive, chard, kale, etc. work quite well. I used a mixture of Swiss chard, baby spinach, and curly endive.

In recent months I had the pleasure of watching two very good friends become husband and wife, and in the back of my mind, I was thinking about Italian Wedding Soup. It was a beautiful ceremony as the very happy and proud groom looked upon his beautiful blushing bride–and she was glowing–simply radiant. As the day fast approaches for two more of my very good friends to become ‘one’ — forming even a three-fold cord that cannot easily be broken…well, it was inevitable that I just had to make this soup as it was now seared into my brain to do so.

Italian Wedding Soup–Truly a “Match Made In The Kitchen”

Garnished with fresh sage & basil, with Parmesan cheese shavings

Ahhhh…. the much waited for ‘wedding dance’  Get those cameras out

Let us begin

For the meatballs — 1/2 pound each of ground pork and ground sirloin,  1 Tbsp dried basil, 1 tsp dried oregano, 2 Tbsp fresh basil, 1 Tbsp fresh sage, 1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese, 1/3 cup fresh bread crumbs, 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley, 2 cloves freshly minced garlic, 1 tsp kosher salt,  1 tsp Worcestershire sauce, 2 Tbsp olive oil, 1/2 tsp cracked black pepper, 1 slightly beaten egg, 1 small onion, grated. (Adjust seasonings to suit your palate).

In a large mixing bowl, mix everything together thoroughly, adding the egg last. Form in to spoon size meatballs. Heat the oil in a pan, and brown the meatballs in batches. Do not worry if they are not fully cooked thru, they will do so when added to the soup. Set these aside.

For the soup — 16 ounces chicken stock, 2 cups fresh baby spinach, 2 cups fresh curly endive, 2 cups fresh Swiss chard, 2 carrots-diced, 2 stalks of celery-sliced, 1 chopped onion, 2 bay leaves, 1 tsp dried thyme, 1 tsp dried basil 2 lightly beaten large eggs, kosher salt & fresh cracked black pepper to taste. A small pasta such as orzo, 1/2 to 1/3 cup.  I used Acini di pe pe–a very small bead-like pasta. You can cook the pasta ahead of time per instructions, or add at or near the end of cooking the soup.

Add the stock to a large pot along with the greens, carrots, celery, bay leaves, thyme and basil. Bring to a boil, then reduce to low heat and simmer for 30 minutes. Add in the meatballs and simmer for another 20 to 25 minutes–want to make sure the meat is cooked through. Next add the greens and simmer for 15 minutes until they are nice and tender. Add salt and pepper to taste and taste the soup liquid and adjust the seasonings to our liking if necessary. Add the pasta…if you did not cook it ahead of time, continue to simmer to allow it to cook.  At this point we want to add in those two slightly beaten eggs. Do this by adding in a thin, slow steady stream, while swirling the soup with a wooden spoon as you add the eggs. Mix (swirl) for about a minute and that’s it. Soups On!

Garnish with fresh herbs–basil and sage, and top with grated or shaved Parmesan cheese.

Mixing the sausage and ground beef

Dicing and slicing

Mix it all together and for the meatballs

Our army of meatballs are all assembled. NOTE* At this point make a little mini paddy and cook it to taste the flavors and adjust the seasons as/if necessary

Brown them up

The greens have been washed and are patiently awaiting their entrance to the party

The ingredients for the soup has been added to a large pot

The meatballs make their splash into the pot

Green mixture

Adding the Acini di pepe. After the pasta was allowed to cook, I swirled in the eggs and now, let us eat soup

A marriage of meat & greens

Squisito!

Minestra Maratata – That’s Amore

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3 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Dana Marie
    May 11, 2012 @ 10:55:40

    I love your blog!!! I’m dragging my ‘puter to the kitchen and making this A.S.A.P.!!!

    Reply

  2. Connie Williams
    May 24, 2012 @ 16:56:34

    Simply beautiful!!! I loved your bio of the wedding soup. I can’t wait to try this soup. 🙂
    You should put your recipes in a cookbook.

    Reply

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