Sunday, January 18, 2015

Italian Wedding Soup

The boys were super excited to go to their Screaming Eagles Ski Program today.  They were going to meet the ski hill groomers of Holiday Valley Resort. Nothing was cooler than getting a chance to meet these individuals who are responsible for grooming the hills into perfect corduroy! And nothing was cooler than learning what it's like to ride in one of those monster grooming machines! Dave and I eagerly listened to the boys telling us all about the groomers while eating delicious spoonfuls of Italian Wedding Soup. I made a crockpot of this amazing soup and it was the perfect compliment to our ski lodge conversation.

As soon as the boys were done with their morning ski program and learning about the groomers, they met Dave and I at the ski lodge for lunch. They couldn't wait to tell us all about the groomers but before they started Tyler asked "Why do they call this Italian Wedding Soup? Do they serve it at Italian weddings?" I laughed and said "Yes!" He then responds "Okay, since we are Italian will you make this soup for my wedding?" Italian Wedding Soup really gets it's name from the Italian phrase minestra maritata which means "married soup." They (italians) called it married soup because the two key ingredients, meats and greens go perfectly together. Basically meaning that meats and greens are a match made in heaven or the perfect pair, hence the name Italian Wedding Soup. The meat is made into tiny meatballs and the greens are typically spinach, escarole, or kale.

I love Italian Wedding Soup not only for the meatballs and greens but for the broth which is a chicken base with parmesan cheese. You cook the chicken broth with a small rind of parmesan cheese. The flavor profile is nutty and salty. Add some small pasta to this soup like acini di pepe or orzo and it's a complete meal. The meatballs are made small enough that you could eat them in one spoonful. Meatballs, spinach, orzo and a chicken broth all in one spoonful is an italian delight!

This soup is the perfect ski lodge soup but it is also the perfect soup for any occasion, like listening to the coolest ski groomer stories! Salute to Italian Wedding Soup or Minestra Maritata: married soup!
Italian Wedding Soup
Tyler making the mini meatballs the night before
Saute the carrots, celery, onions and garlic

Nate adding the chicken stock
The parmesan cheese rind add so much flavor
Tyler proud of his meatball making skills
Zachary loving the soup after a morning of skiing

Nate about to ski on some corduroy that the groomers made
Holiday Valley Ski Groomers in action
One of the groomers explaining how it's done!
Italian Wedding Soup (Click to print recipe)

Preparation and cook time: 2 hours

Serves: 8


For the meatballs: (can be made a day ahead)

  • 1 1/2 pounds ground turkey, chicken or beef (I used turkey)
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup seasoned italian breadcrumbs
  • salt n pepper
For the soup:
  • 1 cup diced carrots
  • 1 cups diced celery
  • 1 cup diced onion
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 2 tb olive oil
  • 1 small piece of parmesan cheese rind
  • 1 can cannelloni beans
  • 10 cups chicken stock
  • 1 1/2 cups small pasta
  • 6 oz fresh baby spinach
  • salt n pepper
  • Grated Parmesan cheese for topping
For the meatballs, combine turkey, breadcrumbs, egg and salt n pepper in a mixing bowl. Shape approximately 40 meatballs (no more than 1 inch) and place on a cookie sheet line with foil. Bake for 20 minutes at 350 degrees. 

Meanwhile, saute carrots, celery, onions and garlic in olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Saute until veggies are semi soft. (since I made this in the crockpot I sautéed the veggies on stove top then added to crockpot) Add the meatballs, cheese rind, stock and salt n pepper. Let cook for 45 minutes with cover over low - medium heat. (If using a crockpot cook on low for 3-4 hours) Add pasta and cook until tender. Add spinach and stir for 5 more minutes. Ladle in bowls and add grated parmesan cheese to top.

Food Impressions:

Nate: "This is super yummy and I love the meatballs."

Tyler: "This soup is so good I want you to make this for my wedding."

Zachary: "I think this is one of my favorite soups."

Dave: "Quite nice."

Andrea: This was a comfort food meal. All of the flavors were so delicious. Its' not a complicated soup to make, in fact its quite easy. You could make it an even easier soup if you use small pre-cooked frozen meatballs.

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