This soup combining tiny meatballs, and greens in a flavorful broth is apparently very popular at Italian weddings in the United States, although I had never heard of it all the years I had lived in Italy. In Canada at Italian weddings, a light soup of broth with tiny pasta, or Pastina in Brodo is served as a first course before the pasta and meat courses.
While researching its origins, and to find out exactly why it is called “wedding” soup, I found that actually the soup was given this name because it was felt that the meat and greens which are main ingredients, go well together (marry well), or in Italian si sposono bene. There are many variations of this soup, although it seems they all contain small meatballs and greens in a flavorful broth. Some recipes boil the meatballs in boiling water before adding them to the broth to keep it clear, while others fry or bake the meatballs.
I find by cooking the meatballs in the broth adds additional flavor to the soup. If any foam develops while cooking, simply skim it off with a ladle. I use a mix of ground veal and sirloin, or just ground veal by itself, which is low in fat and creates a delicately flavored meatball.
Deborah Mele 2011
Italian Wedding Soup
Tiny meatballs and escarole turn simple chicken broth into a special soup.
- 1/2 Pound Ground Veal
- 1/2 Pound Ground Sirloin
- 1 Large Egg
- 1 Cup Grated Parmesan Or Romano Cheese
- 1/2 Cups Bread Crumbs
- Salt And Pepper
- 2 Tablespoons Finely Chopped Fresh Parsley
- 8 Cups Homemade Chicken Broth
- 1 Small Head Of Escarole, Washed, Trimmed And Chopped
- 1/2 Cup Grated Parmesan Or Romano Cheese
- Heat the broth in a large pot.
- Mix together the meats, cheese, egg, bread crumbs, parsley and salt and pepper.
- Once the broth is hot, reduce it to a simmer.
- Form small meatballs about one inch in diameter, and drop them into the broth.
- Cook for about 5 minutes, and then drop in the escarole.
- Cook for a few more minutes or until all the meatballs float to the top, and the escarole is wilted.
- Skim off any foam that develops as the meatballs cook.
- Serve the soup in individual bowls, with a good helping of grated cheese on top.