As many of you know who stop by here regularly, I have been on a mission the past few years to eliminate as much processed food as possible from our household diet. Along the way I’ve made only a couple of exceptions and one of those was Campbell’s™ Italian Wedding soup. I love that stuff. With a couple of big shavings of Parm Reg, it was pretty much my perfect lunch.
I don’t know why it didn’t occur to me earlier to make this soup at home, since I’ve made everything from scratch English Muffins to scratch Graham Crackers! Now that I’ve made it a few times, I can happily say that I’m no longer picking up the cans of wedding soup (sorry Campbells).
I love that this soup is very flexible. Choose your ground meat (beef, pork, chicken or turkey or go faux and use a re-formed veggie burger), choose your pasta (or leave it out, if you’d rather), choose your greens (escarole, curly endive or spinach) and add whatever other veggies you like (onion, celery would be fine additions). If time is really tight, you could pick up a package of fresh, store-made meatballs and mini-fy them for this soup. I think the one thing that you shouldn’t compromise on though is that shaving of Parmigiano Reggiano on the top. It’s a perfect compliment for this soup.
Italian Wedding Soup
Summary: This is lovely soup, that can be made with ground chicken, turkey or pork.
- For the meatballs:
- 1 small onion, grated
- 1/3 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley
- 1 large egg
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 slice fresh white bread, crust trimmed, bread torn into small pieces
- 1 lb. lean ground beef, pork, turkey or chicken (or a combination of any of them – I’m partial to pork, myself)
- 1/2 cup grated Parmesan
- For the soup:
- 1/2 cup pasta, cooked or uncooked (acini di pepe, pepperini, orzo or other tiny pasta)
- 6 cups chicken broth (can, carton or make your own broth)
- 2 cups chopped escarole, curly endive or spinach
- 1/3 cup finely chopped carrot (and feel free to add some finely chopped onion and celery, as well, if you like)
- 1-2 Tbsp. grated Parmesan
- (Optional: 1 egg beaten with 1 Tbsp. grated Parmesan)
- Shaved parmesan cheese for garnish
- To make the meatballs: Stir the first 6 ingredients in a large bowl to blend. Stir in the Parmesan cheese and ground meat. Using 1 1/2 teaspoons for each meatball, shape the meat mixture into 1-inch-diameter meatballs. Place on a baking sheet.
- (*Many people prefer their meatballs pre-cooked or browned. If you’re one of those people, simply brown them in a frying pan or bake in a 375° F. oven on the baking sheet for 6-8 minutes or so. I prefer to just cook them in the oven until firm myself, as they stay together better that way and it cooks off some of the fat before it hits the soup).
- Pre-cook the Pasta (or not): You can add the small pasta uncooked directly to the soup with the meatballs and carrots etc. if you’d rather not bother with pre-cooking it. That said, it does tend to absorb a lot of the nice broth in the soup as it cooks and frankly, I like the broth. You could always add more broth after, if you have it, but I don’t usually have much more around, so I prefer to pre-cook the pasta separately and add it to the soup at the end. Simply pre-cook the pasta in boiling water as directed on the package. Drain and reserve to add at the end.
- To make the soup: Bring the broth and carrots to a boil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add the meatballs, (and un-cooked pasta, if you’re going that route) and curly endive (or escarole/spinach) and simmer until the meatballs are cooked through and the curly endive is tender, about 8 – 10 minutes. Stir in the pre-cooked pasta and heat for another minute or two. Stir in 1 or 2 Tbsp. grated Parmesan for a bit of added flavour, if you like.
- Serve as is with a simple chicken broth base or continue on to add the optional egg/cheese to make a bit creamier broth.
- Optional Addition: Whisk 1 egg and 1 Tbsp. grated Parmesan cheese together in a small bowl. Stream egg and cheese mixture into soup and stir gently in a circular motion. Allow egg to cook for an additional minute before serving.
- Serve garnished with a couple of large shavings of Parmesan cheese.
Prep time: 15 min | Cook time: 15 min | Total time: 30 min
Number of servings (yield): 6