Italian wedding soup is an Italian-American soup consisting of green vegetables and meat. It is popular in the United States, where it is a staple in many Italian restaurants. Generally it consists of a chicken-based broth, greens, meatballs, and small pieces of pasta. There is nothing particularly Italian about it and I challenge any of you to find it on the menu of any restaurant in Italy.
Olive Garden sells it by the tanker truck - because it is yummy. I found this version on the Eating Well website and decided to make it to use up the last of our CSA veggies before we went away. This was a nice twist on the classic Italian wedding soup with beans instead of pasta. It made for a heartier bowl of soup and I enjoyed both cabbage and a dark green in the soup.
It makes a lot of soup . . . we froze most of the leftovers and I have been taking the containers to work for lunch.
The only change we made was to bake the meatballs rather than fry them. This reduced the fat but also the flavour to some extent as there were no crispy brown bits to scrape from the frying pan into the soup. We were willing to sacrifice that in order to reduce the fat significantly.
Before serving we drizzled it with a really good olive oil, and sprinkled it with some chili pepper flakes.
Italian Wedding Soup
1 pound ground turkey breast
1 cup fresh whole-wheat breadcrumbs
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh parsley
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1/2 teaspoon crushed fennel seeds
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 cup chopped onion (1 medium)
1 cup chopped carrots (2 medium)
1 cup chopped celery (2 medium stalks)
4 cups chopped cabbage (about 1/2 small head)
8 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 15-ounce can white beans, rinsed
8 cups coarsely chopped escarole or thinly sliced kale leaves (about 1 bunch)
1/2 cup freshly grated Romano cheese
To prepare meatballs: Combine turkey, breadcrumbs, egg, parsley, garlic, Worcestershire, fennel seeds, pepper and salt in a large bowl. Refrigerate for 10 minutes to firm up. With damp hands, shape the mixture into 32 (1-inch) meatballs (about 1 scant tablespoon each).
Heat 2 teaspoons oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add the meatballs and cook, turning occasionally, until browned on all sides, 7 to 9 minutes. Remove from the heat and add wine, stirring gently to loosen any browned bits.
To prepare soup: Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a soup pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add onion, carrots and celery and cook, stirring, until the onion is translucent, 7 to 9 minutes. Add cabbage and cook, stirring, 5 minutes more. Stir in broth, beans, escarole (or kale) and the meatballs and any juice. Bring just to a boil, reduce heat to maintain a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are tender, 20 to 25 minutes. Top each portion with 1 tablespoon grated cheese.