A few weeks ago I posted a status update on Facebook that I was weeding in January. Most everyone conveniently misread this to say "Wedding in January". In order to avoid a similar problem let me get out of the way that no, we didn't make Wedding Soup for any reason other than it sounded good. Actually, Italian Wedding Soup is apparently thus named by result of a mistranslation. It really is meant to be minestra maritata ("married soup"). In any case, Italian Wedding soup is basically brothy soup with greens and meatballs. There are, of course, many variations, and while I made our version with fake meat, I think ground turkey would work really well this recipe. I adapted the recipe from an Ina Garten recipe. Ina Garten is otherwise known as the Barefoot Contessa and is a protege of Martha Stewart. I don't hold that against her, and her Barefoot Contessa Cookbook is one of my favorites...
Italian Wedding Soup
1 lb ground turkey or Gimmie Lean ground beef style meat substitute
1/4 small red onion, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano, grated
2 tbsp fennel seeds (Jay thought this was slightly too much, I liked it... adjust accordingly)
1/2 cup bread crumbs
1 tsp salt
1 small yellow onion, diced
2 carrots, diced
2 celery stalks, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
8 cups vegetable broth
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 cup whole wheat pasta (rotini, elbows, or even orzo would work)
1 bunch lacinato kale, thinly sliced
salt and pepper to taste
Heat oven to 350 degrees. In a bowl combine ingredients for meatballs and mix thoroughly. Using a tablespoon or just your hands roll meatballs into 1" balls and place on a lightly oiled baking sheet. Cook for 15 minutes or until meat is cooked through. Take out of the oven and set aside.
While the meatballs are cooking assemble soup. In a large soup pot heat olive oil and cook onions, celery, and carrots over medium heat for 5 minutes until onions are slightly translucent. Add wine and let the alcohol cook off for a minute. Add broth and bring to a boil. Add pasta and lower heat to a simmer. Cook until pasta is cooked and add kale. Turn the heat off and let the soup sit for 2-3 minutes. Salt and pepper to taste. To serve ladle soup into a bowl and drop three meatballs into broth. Garnish with Parmesan and red pepper flakes if you like a little heat.