As Valentine’s Day approaches, the Vitoli team asked me to create an original recipe to mark the day of love. After careful consideration, I decided to create this little masterpiece! Éric Simard, doctor of biology and researcher, strongly recommends incorporating cruciferous vegetables into our diet, therefore our recipe thus contains an abundance of it. What I didn’t know, was that the Italian wedding soup was his one of his favorite dishes. I totally agree with Eric’s opinion on this soup, because the broth is a pure delight!
The name of this soup comes from the Italian “minestra maritata” which refers to the marriage of flavors between vegetables, meat and broth, and not to the ceremony that we all know. According to all the existing variations, the meatballs are sometimes replaced by sausage meat and the green vegetables can also be replaced with spinach, endives, kale, escarole or even a mixture with equal parts broccoli and cauliflower. In Italy, their minestrone-like soup base is similar to our recipe. In addition, the North American version is generally lighter than the original, even less abundant in vegetables. We often add small pasta such as stelline (little stars), acini di pepe, pearl couscous or even orzo. As the cook of the Vitoli blog, I would suggest whole grain wheat macaroni or fusilli pasta as another tasty variation.
On behalf of the entire Vitoli team, we are happy to offer you an Italian wedding soup for Valentine’s Day. Your favorite chef also offers you a pro-immunity broth, for a most unforgettable experience. Bon Appetit, to all you lovers!
Italian Wedding Soup Ingredients
- 4 chicken thighs, 6 chicken drumsticks or 1 whole chicken cut in half
- 1 to 2 peeled yellow onions, halved
- 4 whole garlic cloves
- 2 large carrots, peeled and cut into large chunks
- 2 to 3 celery stalks with leaves, cut into chunks
- 3-4 sage leaves (optional)
- 2 large sprigs of fresh thyme (or) 2 teaspoons of dried thyme
- 1 and a half teaspoons of ground turmeric
- 1/2 teaspoon of whole black peppercorns
- 2 tablespoons of white wine vinegar (or) apple cider vinegar
- Sea salt to taste
- A good splash of olive oil
- 3/4 cup of stale bread cubes, crust removed
- 1/4 cup of hot milk
- 3/4 cup of ground beef or lamb
- 3/4 cup of ground pork
- 1 lightly beaten egg
- 1/4 cup of freshly grated Parmesan (or) Kraft Parmesan
- 1 minced garlic clove
- A few spoonfuls of chopped fresh parsley
- Fine sea salt to taste
- 5 to 6 cups of baby spinach, pieces of kale, escarole, or a mixture of equal parts cauliflower florets and broccoli
- 1 1/4 cups of broken acini de pepe, Israeli couscous, whole wheat macaroni or vermicelli
- We will first prepare the chicken broth, which will allow us to carry out other steps as it cooks. To do this, put the chicken in a large stock pot, with a content of about 4 liters of water. In the same pot, add the onion, garlic, carrots, celery stalks, as well as all the other aromatics intended for the broth. Sprinkle a generous amount of salt, then bring the broth to a boil over medium-high heat; please skim the top while cooking, until there is no grayish residue remaining. Simmer the broth for a minimum of 1 1/2 hours to a maximum of 3 hours. Always keep an eye, to prevent impromptu overflows.
- While the broth cooks, shape the meatballs. In a small bowl, put your bread, then add your hot milk (heated beforehand), and mix. In another larger mixing bowl, add all of the ingredients for the meatballs. Form medium-sized meatballs that you will spread on a baking sheet and place them in the freezer while cutting the vegetables.
- Your broth should start beginning to take shape and give off an enchanting fragrance. Remove the carrots and celery with a slotted spoon. Strain the broth through a strainer; discard the remaining aromatics. You will need a large saucepan or container to accommodate the broth temporarily. Pour the stock back into your pot to continue cooking the soup.
- Take your baking sheet out of the freezer; set aside on a cloth to avoid condensation on your counter. Over medium-high heat, heat your reserved broth; drop the meatballs into it as soon as it comes to a boil. Put the chicken back for 5-10 minutes; this operation will allow you to finish cooking your pieces of poultry. When the meatballs rise to the surface, it is a sign that they are perfectly cooked, this is when you will add your leafy green vegetables or cauliflower for another twenty minutes. Turn off the heat of your soup and immerse your chosen pasta.
With that, we wish you a happy Valentine’s Day, and a memorable evening between lovers!