I was first introduced to Italian Wedding Soup during my childhood growing up in Pittsburgh. It was a staple in our house and every time my Grandma took me, my cousin, and my sister to the Olive Garden restaurant we would slurp so much soup that we couldn’t move. After moving to Northern Virginia for college my friends and I went to Olive Garden and to my surprise there wasn’t Italian Wedding Soup on the menu, nor did my friends know what I was talking about. That moment of shock and disappointment lasted with me until I learned to cook many years later when I finally I asked my mom for her recipe. I made it a few of times and then changed it make it my own. That recipe is one of those transformations, but every time I make this soup it changes a little bit. Put your own spin on it – soups are the perfect dish to add your own flair.
Gather your ingredients:
- 8-12 cups chicken stock, depending on how soupy you like it
- 4 carrots
- 5 red or yellow chard leaves and stems
- 1 medium yellow onion
- 2 lbs ground pork
- 1 bunch fresh parsley
- 1 bunch kale (or other hearty green leaf)
- 1 hunk of Parmesan with the rind
- Sea Salt
1. Start heating the broth over medium, lid on or off depending on how fast you can chop.
2. Chop your onion, carrots and the stems of the yellow chard into small pieces – a rough chop will also be great. Put the vegetables into the stock and simmer over low-medium.
3. Cut off the rind of the Parmesan and add to the soup (thank you Food Network for teaching me this).
4. While you are cooking the hearty veggies, prepare the pork meatballs (a.k.a pork-balls) for the soup.
- Grate about 1/4 cup Parmesan.
- Finely chop about 1/3 cup fresh parsley (or use 1-1.5 tablespoons dried).
- Mix Parmesan, parsley and ground pork with your hands to combine.
- Add salt and pepper to taste – you’ll need a taste test for this:
- Using the rest of the pork, form small meatballs about 1/2 tablespoon in size
- Broil on high for 10-12 minutes until you see the tops turn golden brown, alternatively you could brown them on the stove just like our sacrificed pork-ball.
5. Add pork-balls to soup. Keep the fat drippings as a result of broiling.
6. Roughly chop the Yellow chard and kale leaves. (Make sure to take out the stem of the kale before chopping.) Add the leaves to the soup.
7. Continue to simmer for 5 minutes until the leaves soften. Taste test the soup and add some pork fat drippings and salt as needed. I added all of the pork fat drippings (about 1.5 tablespoons) and about 1 tablespoon of sea salt.
8. Remove the Parmesan rind, serve hot and enjoy.