Pot of Italian Wedding Zuppa

Posted on: Monday, February 25, 2013

Mesmerized by Bon Appetit’s March cover showcasing “Hot Soups”, we were inspired to create a soul warming soup on a chilly Monday evening. We wanted to take a classic and add a little sophistication keeping in mind whatever we had in our pantry.

Italian Wedding Soup stems from a mistranslation of “minestra maritata” which does not refer to a wedding dish, but in fact refers to the marriage of leafy greens and meat in a seasoned broth. Variations on the steaming zuppa feature escarole, cabbage or kale paired with sausage or ground meat. We opted for baby spinach and turkey meatballs infused with mint and Parmigiano Reggiano cheese. Instead of a simple, small pasta, we opted for a ring-shaped tortellini filled with creamy ricotta cheese from our neighborhood obsession, Monica’s Mercato. The adorable meatballs and tortellini bob in the tomato infused broth. The wilted greens and meatballs complement each other nicely in this one-dish meal. 

Italian Wedding Soup with Cheese Tortellini

Turkey Meatballs
3/4 lb ground turkey
1/2 yellow onion, grated
1 clove minced garlic
1/4 c chopped fresh flat leaf parsley
1 t dried mint
1/4 c breadcrumbs
1/4 c freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 large egg, beaten
salt and pepper throughout

1 yellow onion, diced
2 stalks celery, thinly sliced
2 carrots, thinly sliced
2 cloves minced garlic
1 T dried oregano
1/4 t crushed red pepper flakes
1 (28 oz) can crushed tomatoes
1 bay Leaf
8 c chicken broth
12 ounces baby spinach, washed and trimmed
12 oz fresh refrigerated cheese tortellini
salt and pepper throughout
Parmigiano Reggiano cheese for serving

For the meatballs, in a large bowl loosely mix all the ingredients together with your hands (it’s a bit messy!). Form the mixture into 1-inch balls with a spoon and place on a lined tray. Heat 2 T EVOO over medium-high heat. Add the meatballs in batches, shaking the pan to prevent sticking, and brown on all sides, about 4-5 minutes. Transfer the meatballs to a plate and set aside.

For the soup, heat 1 T EVOO over medium heat in a large pot. Add the onion, celery and carrots and saute until softened, 5-7 minutes. Add the garlic, oregano, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper, crushed tomatoes, and cook for 2 more minutes. Add the chicken broth and bay leaf and increase heat to medium-high. Once at a boil, Add the meatballs to the simmering broth and cook 3-5 minutes. Add the tortellini and cook until tender, about 5-7 minutes. Stir in the fresh spinach and cook for 2-3 minutes, until the spinach is just wilted. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Ladle the soup into bowls and top with Parmigiano Reggiano cheese. Serves 4.

With a big crusty slice of bread, any beau would love this marriage of flavors


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