Monday, September 10, 2012

Italian Wedding Soup

Italian Wedding Soup - Photo by Taste As You Go

Ciao a tutti!

Stephen and I are home from our honeymoon in Tuscany and have transitioned, with some hesitance, back into our jam-packed lives. Being immersed in the Italian culture for a week has made us all too aware that we need to simplify our lives.

It's going to be a challenge avoiding succumbing to the temptation of over-committing ourselves because that's what we're used to doing. But we're going to try.



Italian Wedding Soup - Photo by Taste As You Go

In the spirit holding onto Italy for just a little bit longer, I'm going to share my version of Italian Wedding Soup with you.

Believe it or not, this soup has nothing to do with weddings and received its name after someone way back in history incorrectly translated the phrase "minestra mariata" to mean "married, or wedding, soup". The marriage being referenced here is not the marriage of two people but rather the marriage of the flavors of the soup's main ingredients -- leafy green vegetables and meat, usually in the form of meatballs.

Italian Wedding Soup - Photo by Taste As You Go

In its traditional form, these greens and meatballs are served in a clear chicken-based broth. Sometimes, the soup will also contain short-cut pasta. You can see that my version of Italian Wedding Soup covers the leafy greens, the meatballs, the clear broth, and the pasta (I used orzo). Because I wanted to use up some vegetables that we had in our refrigerator, I also included carrots and onions, which added a subtle sweetness to the soup.

I hope you enjoy it!

Italian Wedding Soup
Printable Recipe

INGREDIENTS
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup onion, finely diced
  • 3/4 cup carrots, finely diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely minced, divided
  • 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce, divided
  • 4 cups fat-free, low-sodium chicken broth
  • 3-4 cups water
  • 1 tablespoon Parmesan cheese, freshly grated
  • 1/2 pound ground pork
  • 3 tablespoons Panko breadcrumbs
  • 3/4 cup orzo
  • 10 ounces baby spinach
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

INSTRUCTIONS
  1. Place a large pot over medium-high heat to preheat for 2 minutes.

  2. Heat the extra-virgin olive oil in the pan for 1 minute. Add the onions and carrots and cook, stirring occasionally, until slightly softened, about 3-4 minutes, depending on the size of the dice.

  3. Add half of the garlic and 1 teaspoon of Worcestershire sauce. Cook for 1 minute.

  4. Add the chicken broth and 3 cups water and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce the heat to medium, and simmer until the vegetables are tender, about 5-6 minutes, depending on the size of the dice.

  5. Meanwhile, mix the pork, Panko, Parmesan, and the remaining garlic and Worcestershire sauce in a bowl. Form in 1/2-inch meatballs.

  6. Increase the heat to medium-high and bring the soup to a boil again. Stir in the orzo and cook for 5 minutes.

  7. Add the meatballs and cook until they are firm and float to the top, about 4 more minutes.

  8. Stir in the spinach and cook until wilted, about 1 more minute. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

  9. Ladle the soup into bowls and top with extra grated Parmesan.

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