Monday, May 2, 2011

Minestra Maritata (Italian Wedding Soup)

Minestra Maritata
(Italian Wedding Soup)
Serves 8
Though it may be romantic to think so, Italians really do not serve  this soup at weddings,   Minestra Maritata literally translates as “Married Soup”, its American name  “Italian Wedding Soup” came from someone who was not familiar with Italian dialects who decided to translate "maritata" (married) as "wedding".  Italians call this soup, which is  made by combining together flavourful tiny meatballs with  broth and vegetables, maritata because all  the ingredients  blend or “marry” well together (
 “si sposano” in Italian).  In spite of its real history, please feel free to serve this delicious soup at your wedding if you'd like.



8 ounces ground beef
8 ounces ground pork
1 small onion, micro-planed
1/3 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley
1 large egg, beaten
2 cloves  garlic, peeled and micro-planed 
½ cup Italian bread crumbs
1/2 cup grated Parmesan
1 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
½ teaspoon  freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
3 tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil for frying


12 cups chicken broth
 2  tablespoons  chopped fresh oregano or 1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano, crushed
3 large carrots, roughly chopped
1 pound of escarole, trimmed and cut into 1/2 strips*
1 1/4  cups  dried pastina or acini di pepe pasta
 2 tablespoon freshly grated Parmesan, plus extra for garnish
 Kosher or sea salt, to taste
 freshly ground black pepper, taste


1.  In a large mixing bowl combine the meatball ingredients and mix thoroughly.  Shape the meat mixture into ¾ to 1-inch diameter meatballs.  Bring the oil to the ripple stage in a frying and fry meatballs in batches (don't crowd the cooking meatballs) to a rich brown, 3 to 5 minutes (they may still be pink on the inside but that's ok, they'll finish cooking in the soup), add additional olive oil as necessary.  As the meatballs cook set them on aside on a paper towel lined dish, you should end up with about 30 meatballs.

2.  In a large pot over medium heat bring the chicken broth to a boil.  Add the carrots, escarole, the oregano, salt and black pepper to taste. 

3.  Reduce the heat to medium and add the meatballs.  Cook the meatballs  and carrots until  the carrots are softened. 

4.  Add the pasta and  cook until they are al dente, about 10 minutes.  Adjust seasoning to taste with salt and pepper. 

5.   Ladle the soup into individual serving bowls or into a large bowl for family service and serve accompanied by freshly grated  parmesan cheese and crusty Italian  or French bread.

* if you have trouble finding escarole you can substitute spinach or arugula (rocket) 

1 comment:

Rebecca said...

I made this because my boyfriend loves meat and I love soups like this so I thought it would be a good compromise. We both LOVED it. It makes a lot and when my mother came into town we fed the leftovers to her and she adored it as well. I think the meatballs are some of the best I’ve ever tasted.

Foodie Blog