I’ve always imagined a wedding in an old Tuscan villa, nestled perfectly between green hillsides dotted with rows of grapevines and gardens. The bride, wearing the dress of her mother’s and her grandmother’s before her, dancing happily with her new husband and surrounded by their families. Cheering, laughing, drinking and eating. Eating Italian Wedding Soup—
This soup has nothing to do with my dreamy wedding fantasy! I mean, it’s not even remotely romantic. Long ago, someone named this wedding soup to represent the marriage of meat and green vegetables. Sigh. You know I love food, but come on!
I have so many versions of this soup. My family loves them all, but after eating this one recently, my husband said this one was the best soup I’ve ever made! (I married a very smart man, you know!) I’ve adapted the traditional wedding soup by using ground chicken breast to lighten things up. You could make this with ground meat or sausage. You can add some small pasta like Acini de Pepe or some more veggies like carrots and celery. But, this simple version…is really wonderful. Because it’s so simple, the broth is so important. There are some soups you can get away with using canned broth. Not this one. Homemade broth makes this soup really special.
Italian Wedding Soup
1/2 small onion, grated (about 1/3 C. grated)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 t. kosher salt
1/4 t. black pepper
1/8 t. nutmeg
1/4 C. whole grain breadcrumbs
1/4 C. Parmesan, grated
1 – 2 T. fresh parsley, finely chopped
1 lb. ground chicken breast
12 C. chicken or vegetable broth
1 lb. escarole, sliced
2 t. Parmesan
1 lemon, sliced in wedges
In a medium bowl, beat the egg. Add the onion, garlic, salt, pepper, nutmeg, breadcrumbs, Parmesan and parsley. Stir to combine. Add the ground chicken and stir again to mix well.
Place a large pot over high heat and add the chicken broth. Cover the pot and bring to a boil while you form the meatballs.
Using a one tablespoon cookie scoop or measuring spoon, scoop the mixture and level it completely against the side of the bowl. Release the scoop in your hand and roll into a meatball. Place the meatballs on a large dish or a baking sheet. Continue until the mixture is done. You should have about 36 or so meatballs. (See Notes for a great tip!)
Once the broth has come to a boil, gently drop the meatballs into the pot then add the escarole. Cover the pot with the lid slightly ajar and allow the broth to return to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer for about 20 minutes.
In a small bowl, whisk the egg, Parmesan and black pepper. Stream the mixture into the soup while whisking the broth to create threads of egg. Continue simmering for one or two more minutes.
Serve the soup in bowls with lots of freshly grated Parmesan and a wedge of lemon.
- Escarole is one of my favorite healthy dark greens! It’s got a mild flavor, yet it’s got the nutritional impact that a lot of those more bitter dark greens have. Escarole is high in fiber, antioxidants and a fantastic source of Vitamins A and C.
- I’m not terribly squeamish in the kitchen, but when working with ground poultry, I always use thin, food grade vinyl gloves for making chicken or turkey meatballs. The texture of ground poultry is vastly different than ground meat. It can be very sticky and hard to work with. The gloves completely solve that problem.
- Don’t forget the lemon for serving! It makes all the difference!