Italian Wedding Soup is one of our favorite meals. I have been eating it since I was a baby. Mom made it a few times a year, but it was a staple for our Christmas dinner. The soup is hearty enough to eat all alone, and it is very satisfying. The base is chicken soup, which is enhanced with miniature meatballs, escarole, and eggs. Some people add a small pasta such as ditalini or pastina, but Mom did not use any pasta. I continue the tradition and make it exactly the way Mom made it. My family loves it, and it is our favorite part of Christmas Dinner. We usually eat so much of it that we are too full to enjoy the rest of the feast. Give it a try, I think you will like it too.
Ingredients for soup:
2 – qts. chicken broth (see recipe)
2 – large heads escarole
2 – hard boiled eggs
2 – eggs
4 – cups miniature meatballs
3 – tbls. Pecorino Roman Cheese
Ingredients for meatballs:
8 – oz. ground beef
8 – oz. ground pork
1 – egg
1/4 – cup pecorino romano cheese
1/2 – tsp. salt
1/2 – tsp. black pepper
1/2 – cup seasoned bread crumbs
2 – tbls. fresh parsley chopped
1/4 – cup milk
1/2 – tsp. garlic powder
Directions for meatballs:
Place the beef and pork in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk the egg, and then add it to the meat. Add the rest of the ingredients and mix together. Form small meatballs about 1/2″ in diameter. Heat canola oil in a large skillet and add the meatballs in batches. Do not over crowd the pan. Cook until browned on all sides. Do not worry if they are not cooked completely because they will finish cooking in the soup. Place the meatballs on a plate and set aside until ready to assemble the soup.
Directions for the escarole:
Wash the escarole carefully, shake off the excess water and chop it into 1 inch wide bands. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Once the water is boiling add a teaspoon of salt and add the chopped escarole. Bring back to a boil and cook until tender, about 6-7 minutes. Drain the escarole into a colander and let it cool. Once it is cool enough to handle, squeeze out the excess water. Set aside until ready to assemble the soup.
Assemble the soup:
You can make the chicken soup the day before, but be sure to save the carrots and the chicken. Discard the onion, celery, garlic and bay leaves.
If you made the soup earlier, heat it up in a large pot. Shred some of the chicken used to make the soup (about one cup) and add it to the broth. Slice two of the carrots and add them to the soup along with the meatballs. Bring it all to a boil, reduce the heat and let simmer about 2-3 minutes. Chop the hard boiled eggs and add them to the soup along with the escarole.
In a small bowl, whisk two eggs with about 3 tbls. pecorino romano cheese. Bring the soup up to a brisk boil and add the eggs, and using a fork, stir the soup briskly to incorporate the egg. This only takes about 30 seconds.