Having gone to bed the night before sad and let down because the snow had not arrived as the weather man predicted, I awoke the morning of Saturday the 7th, 2017 excited as a girl about to wed the man of her dreams, because the snow had finally arrived. If you don’t know it about me, I love snow. I like the expectation leading up to the storm. I like the smell in the air. I love it in the sense of I like to see if fall and love to look at it once it has fallen. But I am not a lets go build a snowman and play in it kind of gal. Waking to see the snow was just what I needed to get into the cooking mood. It would be a great day for a type of wedding, Italian Wedding Soup that is.
I feel a little background is needed before I proceed into the instructions of how I make Italian Wedding Soup. Before Mark and I had kids together we would go to dinner on Friday nights at Sal’s in Virginia Beach. It was a family owned and operated business. We were regulars. We knew the family and they knew us. They had great food and great prices. The mom, Kathy, made the best Italian Wedding Soup. It was a favorite to get. It is her soup that I try to duplicate every time I make it. Sal’s is no longer there. They sold the turn-key business. So we no longer eat there. I miss eating there. I miss the mom and dad and the girls that helped run the place. I miss the yummy food and good times we had there. So, I make this soup remembering when we would gather there with just us or family and friends. Memories are what make the soul happy.
I must tell you now that if you are looking for a precise recipe for this soup; you are going to be disappointed. I do not have an exact recipe. I will walk you through what I do and how I do it. That is really how I do most of my cooking. I will try to be more exact next time I make it. But for now this is what I have.
The first thing you make in this soup is the meatballs. To start I use about 1 1/2 cups of Panko Bread Crumbs and add milk to make them mushy. This makes a panade. It is the secret to good meatballs. I had to add milk a couple of times because the Panko absorbs it. Next I press about 4 cloves of garlic into the panade. Add salt and pepper to it next and I added about a teaspoon of the new spices I had gotten called Taste of Italy. The next step is important. Do not buy pre shredded cheese. I shred some fresh parmesan on a fine microplane, about 2/3 cup. Mix that all together in the panade. Next add in the meat. I used 1.5 pounds of ground beef and .5 pound of italian sausage. I have seen recipes that call for ground turkey and turkey Italian sausage. I will leave your choice of meat up to you. Turkey would be a more healthy choice.
Preheat the oven to 375. To mix up the ingredients, I recommend getting some latex gloves. They will make mixing so easy and clean up a snap. So mix it together. I line my pans with parchment paper. This to is for easy clean up. To make the little meatballs, I use a small scoop to scoop out the meat onto the pans. You are not done once you scoop out all of the meat. You are only on step 1. Take a meatball and pinch it in half. Roll each half around between your palms to get a ball. Do this with all of the meatballs. Then place the pans in the oven and bake for 15 minutes. (give or take a few minutes)
Now for the soup. It starts with chopping onions, carrots and celery. I will have to guess here because I didn’t write down what I used exactly. So here it goes. Chop up 1 onion. I also had some green onions that needed to be used up so I chopped up 5-6 of them. I was down to the “heart” of the celery. So I chopped it all up. But I would say 3-4 stalks. I also used baby carrots, so several hands full is what I chopped up. I would go with 3 big carrots. Saute these in olive oil.
I added salt and pepper and crushed 4 cloves of garlic. I also used about 1 teaspoon of my new spices Taste of Italy. Then I used about 1 Tablespoon of a chicken base. You could use bullion if needed. I added in 1 package of spinach with I chopped up before I added to the pan.
Next I add 32 ounces of chicken broth and about 6 cups of water. I let it boil for a bit and allow the veggie to cook. Once the meatballs are done I tilt the pans and let all of the goodness fall into the pot of soup. The juices from the meatballs adds another level of flavor and goodness.
As it cooks for a bit to get all happy and for the flavors to marry together, I get ready to cook the pasta. I don’t add the pasta to pot of soup. The main reason is that if we don’t eat all of the soup at one sitting, the pasta soaks up all the liquid and gets gross. So I cook pasta separate and we add pasta to our bowl and then add soup on top.
I like to use Acini de Pepe pasta, it is little balls of pasta. (but any small pasta would work. You could use orza) I cook it in chicken broth to give it maximum flavor. Remember, it may be tiny tiny when dry but it expands when it cooks.
To serve this soup we add a sprinkling of fresh grated parmesan cheese.
From the Ponderosa Kitchen to yours.
Yummy Italian Wedding Soup from
The Queen of the Ponderosa~ Elizabeth