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Prep1 hr 30 mins
"Minestra Maritata" translates to married soup. The ingredients blend or "marry" well together, hence the name Minestra Maritata. I'm sure that someone not knowledgeable with the Italian language translated it to "Italian Wedding Soup." It is not a soup Italians serve at weddings. In this recipe, the escarole is cooked separately to remove some of the bitterness and to keep the soup from turning green.
- 1 roasting chicken, cut into parts (about 3 1/2 pounds)
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 4 stalks celery, chopped
- 3 carrots, peeled and chopped
- 20 ounces chicken broth (canned or fresh)
- 2 quarts water
- 1 lb ground beef
- 1⁄2 cup breadcrumbs
- 1 egg
- 1⁄2 teaspoon salt
- 1⁄4 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley (or 1 teaspoon dried parsley)
- 1 large onion, diced
- 4 stalks celery, chopped
- 3 carrots, peeled and sliced
- 1 bunch escarole, cleaned and chopped
- salt and pepper, to taste
- 1⁄4 lb pasta, cooked according to package (small pasta, such as acini de pepe or ditalini)
- parmesan cheese
- Place first 6 ingredients in a large pot. Bring to a boil., then immediately reduce to a simmer and cook until the chicken easily falls off the bones. Remove chicken from the broth and allow to cool. Reserve the broth. When the chicken has cooled enough to handle, remove all of the meat from the bones and chop meat into small pieces.
- While the soup is cooking, make the meatballs. Mix together the ground beef, bread crumbs, egg, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon black pepper and chopped parsley. Form into small meatballs and place on a baking pan. Bake in a 350 degree oven until fully cooked, approximately 15 minutes.
- Strain the broth used to cook the chicken. Add the remaining onion, celery, and carrots. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer and cook until vegetables are tender.
- Cook the escarole in a separate small pot of boiling salted water until wilted, about 10 minutes. Drain, squeeze dry and add to the broth. Add the cooked chicken, meatballs and cooked, drained pasta. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Heat well and serve accompanied by Parmesan cheese.
There are several recipes for "Italian Wedding Soup" on the 'Zaar, and I looked at ALL of them, but chose this one since it is home-made from start to finish. It IS time-consuming, but I knew that from the get-go. WOW - was it EVER worth it!! I made 2 minor changes based purely on personal preference - no offense to Alan - and that is: (1) I used chopped fresh baby spinach instead of escarole - didn't cook it first either - just threw it in when I added in the cooked chicken and meatballs - it DID NOT turn my soup green; and, (2) when I mixed my meatballs I added some fresh grated Parmesan cheese to the mix. Outstanding soup recipe and many thanks to Alan for posting it! :)