An Easy “Sort of Italian” Wedding Soup
This Italian-American-ish soup is pure comfort in a bowl. While there are endless variations to this recipe, I prefer to make my meatballs with ground dark meat chicken, Italian sausage and Pecorino Romano for an extra flavor boost. I think escarole adds a nice bitterness and holds up better than spinach in the soup over time.
Italian Wedding Soup with Orzo & Meatballs
- 6 ounces bulk Italian sausage
- 8 ounces boneless chicken thigh, diced and pulsed in food processor
- 1 cup dried bread crumbs
- 2 egg yolks
- 3 tablespoons heavy cream
- 1/3 cup grated pecorino Romano
- Several pinches of red chile flake
- 4 tablespoons shallots, minced
- 1/2 tablespoon dried basil
- 1/2 tablespoon dried oregano
- 4 tablespoons olive oil
- 3 tablespoons garlic, sliced
- 1 cup yellow onion, minced
- 1 cup leeks, diced
- 4 cups escarole, chopped
- 8 cups rich chicken broth
- 2 carrots, in fine dice
- 2 eggs, lightly beaten
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1 1/2 cups orzo cooked to ‘al dente’ in salted water, drained and reserved
- 1 ounce grated Pecorino Romano
- Crushed red chile flake for garnish
Make the Meatballs
Working with your hands combine all ingredients and let sit in fridge for one hour. Roll out into small meat balls (you can make them bigger but smaller is more fun and elegant).
For the Soup
In a large heavy pot over low heat add the olive oil, garlic, onion and leeks. Gently cook for 10 to 12 minutes until sweated and golden, with no scorching.
Add the escarole and cook for 4 minutes.
Add the broth. Simmer for 10 minutes.
Add the meatballs, and lower heat to maintain a gentle simmer. Cook for 7 minutes and add the carrots. Cook for a couple more minutes.
Slowly pour in the beaten eggs, mixing gently to form fine threads.
Season with salt and pepper. Divide the orzo into bowls, ladling the soup over it and garnishing with the extra cheese.
Serve with crushed red chile flakes and more cheese at the table and plenty of crusty bread.
Photographs by Madeleine Hill.