A Tuscan Twist on Italian Wedding Soup

by Gwen on February 10, 2010 · 2 comments

Just a quick post tonight. I thought I’d share my recipe from dinner even though I didn’t take many pics.

You see, I’ve had a batch of homemade chicken stock sitting in the freezer, just waiting to be used.  And since I spent so much time on it, I wanted to showcase it in a recipe that would be all about the broth.  Hence the obvious choice, soup.  All it took was Kim talking about soup today and I knew it was time.

This is my take on Italian wedding soup, partly inspired by a Tuscan soup called ribollita, sortof a minestrone thickened with bread with tons of local, cheap vegetables.  And since we’re still getting our CSA veggie delivery we had a plethora of local, cheap veggies on hand.  It basically came down to luscious chicken stock base with delicious, basily chicken meatballs, cannellini beans and lots of healthy, vibrant kale.

Tuscan Wedding Soup
Makes 4 generous portions

For the Meatballs:
1 lb ground chicken
1 shallot, minced
1 clove garlic, minced
1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese
1/4 cup fresh basil, finely chopped
1 egg, lightly whisked
3/4 cup fresh breadcrumbs

For the Soup:
1/2 sweet onion, small dice
1 rib of celery, small dice
1 carrot, small dice
1/2 cup dry white wine
8 cups chicken stock, preferably homemade
2 – 12oz cans cannellini beans, drained
3/4 lb kale, washed and roughly chopped (i like a mix of dinosaur kale and curly kale for this)
Parmesan for serving

For the meatballs, preheat the oven to 400°F.  Combine all the ingredients in a large bowl and mix well to combine.  Season with salt and pepper.   The mixture will be looser than ground beef/pork, but it should still hold together when formed into a ball.  Place meatballs on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and bake for 20 minutes until they begin to brown.  Alternatively, you can cook the meatballs in the soup, if you like them softer and don’t mind their lack of color.  I’ll point out where in the next step.

For the soup, put a large stock pot over medium-high heat.  Saute the onion, celery, and carrot in a few turns of olive oil until softened, about 7 minutes.  Add the wine and cook until its reduced by half or almost fully evaporated.  Add the stock (its a good idea to have this heating up in another saucepan on your stove, so you don’t have to wait to bring this to a boil) as well as the cannellini beans and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Go ahead and check the seasonings on the soup at this point and add some salt and pepper.  Now’s a good time to prep your kale and allow your meatballs to finish browning.  If you’re cooking the meatballs in the soup, go ahead and add them now and bring the heat up closer to a low boil.  They should take about 10 minutes to cook through, then proceed with the next step.

Add the meatballs and kale to the pot.  You might have to add the kale in two batches if your pot is not large enough, but don’t worry, it wilts down quickly.  Bring the soup back to a simmer and allow to cook for at least 10 minutes for the kale to soften.  If you prefer your kale softer, go ahead and simmer an additional 10-15 minutes until its cooked to your liking. Ladle the soup into large bowls.  Top with freshly grated parm cheese and a tiny drizzle of good extra virgin olive oil.  Serve with toasty garlic bread on the side.

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