Italian Wedding Soup by a Non-Italian Jersey Gal


Foot-long cheesesteak Italiano: steak, provolone, broccoli raab, roasted peppers and onions. Take the canoli. Leave the sandwich!

Foot-long cheesesteak Italiano: steak, provolone, broccoli raab, roasted peppers and onions. Take the canoli. Leave the sandwich!

Many of you know by now that I’m a Jersey Gal in Hawaii. I’ve lived in the Islands since 1981. I left South Jersey in 1978 and spent two years in California before getting shipped here to Hickam by the USAF. But all that is another blog entry.

When I was a tween in 1970, I was one of those totally in demand babysitters. Back then parents were much younger than we are now, and most of them were still in their 30s by the time I became a professional at 12 years old for 50 cents an hour. I grew up in a neighborhood that had lots of Italian families and lots of Jewish families. Some people reserved me for the same day every week, and some of them did their best to book me as soon as they knew they’d be going to some splash party at the swim club.

As a result, I got to raid refrigerators that were stocked with the best stuff ever: Guess which houses had the pickled green tomatoes, Kosher pickles, tuna salad with mayo (mom didn’t have it in the house) fragrant onion bagels and pickled herring? Guess which houses had meatball sandwiches, Sicilian pizzas, eggplant parmigiana? So I learned a few things. If I’m only making 50 cents an hour in 1970, you can bet I did my research.

Fast forward. I’m an old mom, but my kids think I’m awesome. Except when I dance in public. But that’s OK. The whole point is to drive them crazy at the most inconvenient times. Like I said. I learned a few things.

Easy Italian Wedding Soup.

Easy Italian Wedding Soup.

No one’s getting married, but try this soup. Short cuts, kids. I take short cuts.

Easy Italian Wedding Soup

For the meatballs: 
To 1 pound of ground turkey add
1 cup of Ricotta cheese
1 cup of Progresso Italian bread crumbs
1 egg, beaten,
1/2 cup grated Romano cheese.
2 tbsp parsley
Salt and pepper to taste
Like chili pepper flakes and there aren’t any crybaby kids around? Throw in some chili pepper flakes.

Mix into a big ball in a bowl and let rest.

For the stock:

Dice about a cup of onion, 3-4 carrots, and 2-3 celery stalks.
Add them to a stock pot and let them soften and get golden in some olive oil.
Like garlic? Throw in some minced garlic. 

Get it at Costco. We have both chicken and beef. Luv this stuff!

Get it at Costco. We have both chicken and beef. Luv this stuff!

Toss a scoop of “Better than Bouillon” low-sodium chicken stock base and pour in your water, as much as you like to taste. I added a quart or so of water to a big scoop of the base. Bring to a boil. 

Reduce heat to a simmer, and with two teaspoons shape little meatballs and drop them into the boiling stock. By the time you get to the last one, you might have been at it for like 20 minutes, especially if you’re sipping wine. What can I say? 

So give the soup at least another 20 minute so the last meatballs cook through. There’s no browning the meatballs, just let them cook and finish nice and soft in the pot. About four minutes or so before everything is done just right, toss in ribbons of your favorite greens. This time I used Swiss chard. Kale, spinach and basil leaves would work great. Mmmmmm. 

Ladle over rice or pasta. 

What about pasta? I didn’t put in pasta tonight. In Hawaii we have rice cookers and there’s always rice around. And I must confess that I loathe, LOATHE, LOATHE fat swollen pasta. ICK. When I make soup like minestrone or pho, I always make the pasta separately and put it in the bowl and pour the soup on top. Tonight I made basmati rice and ladled the soup on top. Like I said, the kids went back for more and more. And I made enough for John to have when he gets home from work tonight.

My work is done here. Wait. Dishes. Sigh.