The Italian wedding soup is a bowlful of love, warm and hearty and savory with a little meatballs shimmering in the rich brothy soup for each spoonful.
Italian Wedding Soup
1 pound ground beef
3/4 pound pork sausage
4 cloves minced garlic
1/2 cup finely chopped parsley
1 tsp. dried oregano or 1 Tbl fresh
1/2 tsp. dried basil or 8 fresh leaves, slides onto tiny shreds then chopped
1/2 c. grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 c. grated Romano cheese
1/2 c. dried breadcrumbs
1/2 c. milk (or more)
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
8 cups chicken broth, prepared or homemade – we used homemade duck stock
1/8 pound pancetta or bacon, diced
1-2 onions, diced
2 stalks of celery, diced
4 carrots, diced
2 dashes Worcestershire sauce
2 dashes bitters
2 bunches of kale, chard or other cooking greens, greens sliced thin, stems diced
salt and pepper
More grated cheese (Parmesan and Romano or just one or the other, for sprinkling over soup)
Line a baking tray with parchment paper or a Silpat. Preheat oven to 350 F.
In a large bowl combine all of the meatball ingredients and mix well. Form into little balls, about 1 mounded teaspoon, onto the baking tray. Wet hands with water and roll into balls, they do not have to be perfectly round. Saute one or two balls in oil until browned and cooked through and taste for salt and pepper. Adjust seasonings if necessary. Make rest of meatball mixture into balls and space evenly on the tray. This recipe made 70-80 balls. Bake for 30 minutes or longer, until nicely browned. Remove from the oven and let rest for 10-15 minutes.
While the meatballs are baking, make the soup base. Put the bacon or pancetta in a large stock pot, heat up the pan over medium heat and saute the pork until browned and slightly crispy. Add the onion, carrot and celery and the bay leaf and saute with a large pinch of salt, stirring, until the vegetables are very soft and the onions are browned, about 10-15 minutes. Pour in the stock and bring to a boil, add Worcestershire sauce and bitters. Simmer until the meatballs have rested.
Add the meatballs and the kale or other greens and simmer for 10-15 minutes or until the greens are very soft.
Serve with grated cheese over each serving.
Note: This soup freezes really well.