When an epic storm hailed the storm of the century is about to descend upon you dumping 24-30 inches of snow and wind gusts up to 55 miles an hour, what's a girl to do but make soup! And here’s the quintessential Italian-American classic that’s just what cold fingers and toes need to warm up!
The term itself is a misrepresentation the Italian soup that meant the ‘marriage of ingredients i.e. meat and veggies’ v/s it being served at a wedding!
Traditionally, it also includes some form of slightly bitter leafy green like escarole and egg is also added to create lacey ribbons within the soup. No matter which recipe you follow succulent meatballs are a staple though traditionally it was much heavier on meat unlike the American-Italian version where we just do with the meatballs.
I never make mine with leafy green btw. My youngest whose pallete is still developing doesn’t do too well with bitter flavors.
But couple of things are key: a great stock at its foundation where we simmer a whole chicken to create flavorful stock. And then what best to do with the chicken than shred it up and throw it back in the soup.
Next I add a bit of Parmigiano Reggiano and Italian sausage in my meatballs because the pork keeps the polpette succulent as opposed to if you just used ground beef. Instead of big old elbow pasta that takes over everything, Acini de pepe is my fave – those little pasta pearls that look like Israeli couscous doesn’t swell up to take over the whole soup (though the more it sits in the soup, the more it’ll drink up the stock…nature of starches my friends!)
Just a little bit of diced tomatoes, succulent meat balls, the pasta and at its foundation a robust stock and you’ve got the making of one fabulous comfort one-dish-meal soup. And why just a little bit of diced tomatoes you ask? Because all Italian soups don't have to end up like Minestrone!
Hope you get this soup on your winter rotation for a meal that kids and grown-ups will love alike!