Sunday, July 8, 2012

Italian Wedding Soup

There are as many recipes for this as there are grandmothers. What they all have in common is that this chicken broth-based soup must contain bite-size meatballs and leafy greens.

We made this at the Viking Cooking School!
(so, you will see lots of cooks in the kitchen)

1/3 cup panko
1 tablespoon milk (2% is fine)
3 tablespoons finely minced onion
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley
½ teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 cloves garlic, minced
¼ cup grated pecorino romano
1 large egg, beaten
4 ounces lean ground beef
4 ounces lean ground pork
½ cup all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

½ small onion, diced
1 rib celery, diced
1 medium carrot, peeled and diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 sprigs fresh thyme
¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
¼ cup dry white wine
2 quarts chicken stock or broth
½ cup orzo pasta (uncooked)
6 ounces fresh baby spinach, washed and dried
1 teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Freshly grated pecorino romano, for garnish
Crusty Italian bread, as accompaniment

1.       For the Meatballs: Combine the panko and milk in a medium mixing bolw; stir to fully moisten the crumbs and allow to sit for 30 seconds.
2.       Add the onion, parsley, basil, salt, pepper, garlic, pecorino and egg, and whisk to combine evenly.
3.       Crumble the beef and pork into the egg mixture and mix until combined. Do not over-mix or the meatballs will be tough.
4.       Take enough of the mixture to make a meatball about ¾ inch in diameter (bite size) and roll between your palms. (May need to wet hands to prevent meatballs from sticking.)

5.       Place meatball on a flour-dusted baking sheet. You may wish to cook one of the meatballs early on in order to adjust seasoning as needed with salt, pepper or basil.
6.       Continue making meatballs until all the meat mixture has been used. Dust flour evenly over all the meatballs, then shake the pan, rolling the meatballs around to coat lightly, and evenly, with the flour.
7.       Heat a large sauce pot over medium heat (this will be the pot that the soup is eventually cooked in) and add the oil and heat through. Carefully add the meatballs to the hot oil, taking care not to overcrowd the pan. (Will probably need to cook in two batches.) Fry the meatballs until they are lightly brown on all sides, about 10 minutes; shake the pan occasionally to promote even browning. Carefully transfer meatballs to a paper towel-lined platter to drain.

8.       For the Soup: Return the pan to the heat and add onion, celery, carrot, garlic, thyme and red pepper flakes. Sauté until vegetables begin to soften. Add the white wine and stir, scraping to remove any browned bits from the bottom of the pan; cook until wine has nearly evaporated.
9.       Add the chicken broth and bring to boil. Add orzo, stirring to ensure that it does not stick to the bottom of the pot. Cook until orzo is just al dente, about 6 to 8 minutes, then add the meatballs and spinach. Bring just to a simmer, and simmer gently (do not boil) until meatballs are cooked through, about 5 minutes more. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
10.   Ladle into warmed soup bowls, diving the meatballs evenly among them. Garnish each bowl with grated pecorino romano cheese. Serve with warm crusty bread and pass extra crushed red pepper flakes at the table for those who like it spicy!

No comments:

Post a Comment