Recipe update from October 2007: I love this soup kitchen classic and I make it at least once a year during soup season. It’s winter and we have soup season! I don’t tinker much with this Rocco DiSpirito recipe other than to use what leafy greens are available in the market. It could be escarole, could be kale or it could be curly green lettuce…all good in Italian Wedding Soup.
The basis for any good soup is a good stock and that’s especially important for this soup. When I make a stock, I buy the carcasses (three) from a chicken (you can use one whole chicken) and place them in a pot with a carrot, onion and celery along with some salt (1 Tbsp) and enough water to cover the pot (12-14 cups). Bring to a boil, simmer for 90-120 minutes and allow to cool. Remove the vegetables and carcasses and place the stock in the fridge to chill. The next day the fat will have risen to the top and coagulate. Simply skim the fat and discard and now you’re left with a clear, flavourful stock.
I’ve been to many weddings (including Italian weddings) but I’ve never been served this soup. I usually see Italian Wedding Soup at a soup & sandwich counter.
For those not familiar with this soup, it’s a brothy soup with little bite-sized meatballs, lots of chopped pieces of greens and little pasta called Acini de Pepe (peppercorns).
When I’m out and I have to eat lunch on the go, I always see what the “soup of the day” is and then I’ll choose my sandwich pairing.
When I first made this soup, I used Rocco DiSpirito’s version and I was very pleased with the end result as it tasted like the soup at the sandwich counter.
The one glaring omission in his recipe was the absence of the Acini de Pepe. It can be found amongst the other pastas and if you cannot find it, substitute it with another fine, small pasta. Don’t overlook this little pasta, it’s half the soup! Add it to your broth along with the meatballs.
The only substitute I made was that I used kale instead of escarole and just remember to trim the stems of kale as they can be too earthy in flavour.
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