Winter, why oh why won’t you go away and come again some other day? It’s been a brutal few months, oh so cold and covered in snow. With another forecast in sight for MORE snow, what’s a girl to do but warm up her tummy. Nothing ever seems more cozy to me than a hot bowl of soup. I’ve been rotating between this recipe for Italian Wedding Soup with Kale and a super easy Split Pea with Ham Soup (might post on that later) all Winter. My version of Italian Wedding Soup sometimes contains escarole and sometimes kale. When using escarole, I chop up the tough dark green leaf tips to use in the soup and save the heart/lighter green leaves to be served raw in a salad. To keep this super fast, I purchase pre-made teeny meatballs from our local Italian speciality foods market. If you can’t find those, you can easily make your own. Just Google it–or do your favorite mix of ground pork, dark meat turkey, or beef with egg, grated parmesan, chopped fresh parsley, a little bread crumbs, and salt and pepper. You can brown the meatballs first before adding to the soup or just throw them in boiling broth raw and they’ll be cooked in no time. Stay warm out there. And for those of you that live in warmer climates, I hate you. (No not really. I actually want to be best friends with you so I can come and visit.)
Italian Wedding Soup with Kale
2 tbsp butter or olive oil
2 stalks of celery, chopped
1 large carrot, peeled and chopped
½ large (or 1 medium) yellow onion, peeled and chopped
1-2 cups of pre-made mini-meatballs (depending on how meaty you want your soup), defrosted if previously frozen
1 cup of small soup pasta (I like acini di pepe, ditalini, or orzo)
2 cups of chopped kale
8 cups chicken stock (my favorite brand: Kitchen Basics)
salt and pepper
Garnish: freshly grated parmesan or pecorino romano cheese
In a heavy dutch oven pot, melt 1 tbsp. butter or olive oil over medium heat. Add chopped vegetables, add salt and pepper, and cook until softened. Spoon all of the vegetables into a bowl and set aside. Add remaining butter or olive oil to the pot and drop in mini-meatballs. Cook until just browned. Add back in cooked vegetables and stir to combine. Add 8 cups of chicken stock and bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce to a strong simmer. Add the dried pasta and cook in rapid simmer until cooked through. Drop the kale in the pot and stir. Let simmer until kale is wilted and soft. Check for seasoning. If needed, add salt and/or pepper.
Ladle soup into serving bowls and top with freshly grated parmesan cheese. Enjoy with a crusty piece of bread.