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Italian Wedding Soup With Parm Broth »Easy And Healthy Recipe! ✅

As with many recipes that traveled to the old country, this particular soup was transformed through a long game of phone recipes. Variations on this classic are found far and wide. The way I know it, and the version I love and care about, is a savory, simple soup that converges on the marriage of vegetables (whether endive, cabbage, or dandelion) and meat (whether meatballs, sausage, Tu say it).

For this version I left the pasta, be patient for a moment! You don’t need it thanks to the big flavor boost of homemade Parmesan broth (a great way to use up freezer-stored Parmesan rinds). Plus a superhero meatball made with ground beef and pork (or sweet Italian sausage), plus Parmesan and a dash of garlic. But like I said before, the variations are endless, so for an even heartier soup, feel free to add some ditalini, barley, or even cooked rice at the end.

These meatballs are cooked directly in the broth, making them ultra-tender and further intensifying the flavor of the broth. If you want to brown the meatballs first, you can do so in the stock pot just before the aromas (carrot, celery, fennel, and garlic) enter. Just remember to put the browned meatballs back last to heat through.

Parmesan broth can be made ahead of time and stored for up to four days in the refrigerator or a month in the freezer. —Anna Billingskog

ingredients
  • Parmesan broth:

  • 1 pound parmesan rinds

  • 1 yellow onion, halved, skin removed

  • 1 head garlic, cut in half crosswise

  • 6 sprigs flat-leaf parsley

  • 1/2 teaspoon black peppercorns

  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt

  • Meatballs:

  • 2/3 cup panko

  • 3 tablespoons whole milk

  • 1/2 pound ground beef

  • 1/2 pound ground pork or sweet Italian sausage, casings removed

  • 1 large egg

  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan

  • 1/4 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley

  • 2 garlic cloves, minced

  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes

  • 1/2 teaspoon ground fennel

  • Soup:

  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

  • 1 or 2 carrots, diced medium (about 1/2 cup total)

  • 1 or 2 celery sticks, cubed medium (about 1/2 cup total)

  • 1 small fennel bulb, thinly sliced

  • 2 garlic cloves, minced

  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

  • 6 cups hearty torn greens, such as escarole or other radicchio

  • To serve: chopped parsley, lemon wedges, grated Parmesan, and chili flakes (optional)

Indications
  1. Prepare the Parmesan broth: Put all the ingredients in a saucepan, along with 12 cups of water. Bring to a boil and cook uncovered for 2-2 1/2 hours, stirring occasionally to prevent the cheese from sticking to the bottom of the pot. When ready, the broth should look cloudy and have a strong Parmesan flavor. Strain the broth into a clean, heatproof container or pot, pressing down on the solids to extract as much liquid as possible. Taste and add more salt and pepper if needed. I really like the pepper in this broth.

  2. Meanwhile, while the broth comes to a boil, work the meatballs: Combine the panko and milk in a medium bowl and mix. Let stand for a few minutes so that the breadcrumbs absorb the liquid: this will give our meatballs moisture and a lighter texture. Add the beef, pork, or sausage and the egg to the panko. Toss lightly to combine, then Parmesan, parsley, garlic, pepper flakes, and ground fennel. Stir with clean hands to combine, but try not to overwork the mixture.

  3. To finish the soup, add the olive oil to a saucepan over medium heat. Add the carrots, celery, fennel, garlic, and a good pinch of salt. Let the vegetables sweat until they start to brown. Add all the vegetables at once and toss to wilt. Add all the Parmesan broth and bring to a boil. Using a tablespoon or two large tablespoons (one to scoop, one to scrape), scoop up the meatball mixture and gently pour it into the boiling broth. Repeat until all the mixture has been used up. Allow soup to simmer, lowering heat if necessary, until meatballs begin to float and are cooked through, 10 to 15 minutes. Taste the broth and season with salt and pepper to taste.

  4. Serve with chopped parsley, a splash of lemon juice and grated Parmesan to taste. Or, my favorite, chili flakes.

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