Minestra Maritata is a delicious, hearty cold weather treat made with broth, little meatballs, greens and eggs. This soup is known as ‘Italian Wedding Soup’ here in America which is actually a mistranslation of its name. Minestra Maritata translates to ‘married soup’ and is actually a reference to the fact that the little meatballs go well or are ‘married’ to the greens in the soup. Whatever its translation, this yummy soup has long been a staple in our family. This is Italian comfort food for a cold, frosty December day. Whenever I make this soup, I smile at the memories of my mother letting us help make the little meatballs.
I used leftover bones and extras from our recent Thanksgiving feast to make the stock. My Italian family is not a big turkey loving family so I substituted Tom Turkey with a standing rib roast this year – all those little ribs provided me with some great leftovers from which to make the stock. My brother, the stock-making king, insisted we whip up a batch of stock late Thanksgiving eve with all the great leftover fixings. And even though I grumbled a bit about getting the kitchen dirty all over again, I was thankful for his insistence when a few days later – after the last of family had departed – I settled in under a blanket on the couch with an enormous bowl of this tasty treat. So dish out a bowl, give it a fine dusting of parmesan cheese, add some warm crusty bread and enjoy! Bon appetito!
Minestra Maritata (“Italian Wedding Soup”)
For the meatballs:
1 small onion, minced or grated
1/4 cup chopped parsley
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 large egg, slightly beaten
1 slice white bread, crusts removed, torn into little pieces
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 lb. ground pork
1/2 lb. ground sirloin
Freshly ground black pepper
For the soup:
Approximately 12 cups homemade beef broth (can substitute low-sodium canned broth)
About 6 cups of escarole (can substitute other greens; baby spinach works great too; I also sometimes use a mixture of spinach and escarole)
2 large eggs
2 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese
Salt and freshly ground pepper
Additional parmesan cheese for the top
For the meatballs: Mix the onion, parsley, garlic, egg, bread, salt together in a large bowl. Add the ground pork, ground beef, parmesan cheese and pepper. Mix together. (Be careful not to overmix or meatballs tend to get tough.) Using your hands or two spoons, shape into little meatballs – approximately 1 inch in size. Place on cookie sheet or tray.
For the soup: Bring broth to a boil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Drop heat to a simmer. Add the meatballs to the broth and cook until they are almost cooked through (about 10 mins). Spoon any foam off the top.
-Add greens to the broth. Cook until wilted – about 3 minutes.
-Whisk the eggs and cheese in a small bowl to blend. Gradually add the egg mixture to the soup, using a fork to gently stir the eggs into thin threads in the broth.
-Adjust seasonings – adding any additional salt and pepper as needed.
Ladle into bowls. Top with additional yummy parmesan cheese and serve with some crusty bread to sop up all the wonderful broth! Enjoy…..