Today is the perfect day for soup because even in Southern California, the weather has dipped below 50 degrees. I’m craving a bowl of warm broth that’s loaded with things I love like vegetables, and meatballs, and preferably something that’s not too difficult to make. Nowadays with boxed stocks, you don’t even need to go the extra mile and prepare a broth from scratch because it’s already done for you. Italian Wedding Soup is special concoction that comes in several forms, depending upon who is preparing it, and will surely hit the spot. The name Minestra Maritata, meaning married soup, comes from the combination, or marrying of meat and vegetables. It’s never served at Italian weddings and classically it was a peasant soup created from leftovers in Italian kitchens. Over the years, it has evolved and meatballs were added to broth, along with a variety of greens, and pasta or eggs.
In my preparation, I used eggs because I wanted to create a soup that had some character without overloading it with too many ingredients. I find it interesting that Asian Egg Drop Soup is so similar to this Italian variety, and how many cultures have many of the same tastes and traditions. What I think is so fantastic about this recipe, is how easy it is to prepare and how deeply satisfying its flavors, mostly because of its simplicity. The meatballs are steamed beautifully in a brothy bath of lacinato kale and chicken broth, while the eggs are stirred into striated strands upon entering the soup. The colors are mesmerizing, but it’s the flavors that are so memorable. This pot of soup is undoubtedly complete with the right combination of ingredients, and it’s one recipe, I will be making again and again, even when the weather warms up.
1 pound ground beef
1/2 cup finely diced onion
1 clove minced garlic
1 large egg
2/3 cup panko breadcrumbs
1/2 cup parmesan cheese, grated
1/4 cup half & half or whole milk
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
pinch of red pepper flakes
2 quarts chicken stock, store-bought or homemade
1 bunch lacinato kale, spinach or escarole, washed and chopped
2 large eggs
2 tablespoons parmesan cheese, grated + more for topping
salt & pepper
- In a large bowl, combine all Meatball ingredients. Using your hands, form into 2-inch size meatballs, set aside.
- In a large stock pot or Dutch oven, add broth and place over medium-high heat. When boiling, add kale and stir. Cook for 3 minutes until wilted. Add meatballs and turn heat to simmer, place lid on pot. Cook for 6-8 minutes or until meatballs are cooked through.
- In a small bowl, whisk together eggs and parmesan cheese. Using a spoon swirl soup in a circular motion, and stream in eggs, stir.
- Season soup with salt and pepper to taste. Ladle soup into bowls and serve hot. Sprinkle with more parmesan cheese, if desired. Enjoy!