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Wednesday, September 29, 2004

Italian Wedding on a Weeknight

I couldn't resist the escarole at the Farmer's Market, and I already had a Big Bag o' Chard in the fridge, so I needed to do something with it, FAST. (Both of those lovely tasty greens occupy big fridge space.)

I had never eaten "Italian Wedding Soup", but had heard stories of its tastiness on RFC, so I looked up some web recipes as a refresher. I also remembered happily that I had a big container of homemade chicken broth in my extremely full freezer. So I pulled it out and went to Trader Joe's in search of meatballs.

I did a lot of things in the kitchen while the meatballs and broth were thawing, including roasting a chicken. The defatted drippings went into the soup.

It was extremely good, even without the traditional finishes of egg-drop or Parmesan. Next time I have a large container of broth, I'm going to think about finding some escarole (will have to look under its alternate chicory or endive names; must confirm which is which) and making it. If you get meatballs from your deli or freezer case, most of the hard work is done (thus the title of this post). They can thaw, if necessary, in your fridge during the day.

Quick Italian Wedding Soup

Chop up:

One onion
4 carrots
4 ribs celery

and saute them in some olive oil in a Dutch or French oven until the onions look done.

Then add:

2 cloves chopped garlic

and saute for another minute or so.

While this is all happening, wash

One large head escarole (like spinach, it can keep dirt, so be careful)

and cut it into ribbons.


About six cups chicken broth

and bring it up to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and simmer, covered, for a few minutes. Most recipes say an hour, this is not necessary IMO.

Salt to taste.

Add the meatballs (I used TJ's frozen Italian-style beef meatballs, the whole package) and greens and simmer covered for 20 minutes.

Finish off by either making egg-drops in the soup with 1-2 eggs or throwing a good hand of Parmesan in. (The reviews on this soup was that it looked weird but tasted great.) But I haven't even done that yet, the chicken broth and the delicate veggie taste is so good. This would also be good minus meatballs as escarole soup but the meatballs make it meal-worthy.

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