A truly soul-satisfying soup: Meatballs, noodles, a bit of green, & Parmesan cheese broth. Better than any can.~ by Serena Ball, MS, RD
If it would have been a normal dinnertime – and my kids had asked these question, I would have beamed and answered, “Yes!”
“Mom, did you put these yummy carrots in this soup?”
“These are great meatballs, did you make them?”
“Did you add these green leaves? I can’t really taste them, so that’s good.”
“I love these noodles, can we put them in soup again?”
But those kid-approving accolades were not for me. They were for this can instead:
We’ve eaten several cans of soup lately as we’ve all had some sort of flu. When the kids are sick, I don’t focus my energy on homemade soup, because they only eat a few spoonfuls. I’m just happy when they are sipping ANY sodium or fluids.
So the other day as I was coming off of my short stay on the sick couch, I was relieved to solve dinner with that can of Italian Wedding Soup from the back of the pantry. However, I was NOT prepared for my kids to like it so much. I felt my homemade-soup-making abilities had been called into question.
But, I was not to be outdone by a can. And I’m proud to report, I bested that can!
I used this awesome Italian Wedding Soup recipe from TheKitchn with the following adaptations (plus a few more in the recipe below)…because one kid was still sick so I couldn’t run to the store for the recipe’s called-for ingredients:
- Kale instead of escarole. From the garden.
- Feta and Cheddar in the meatballs instead of Romano and Parmesan. Totally sacrilegious for an “Italian” soup. But the meatballs were still the BEST part of the soup.
- For a rich, flavorful broth, small cheese nubbins and Parmesan rinds (from the bottom of the cheese drawer) were tossed in. Here’s more info on this cheese-rinds-in-soup trick.
- Added carrots. I was not to be outdone by canned soup.
- Added macaroni pasta. Again, not to be outdone. (Plus 3 more cups of broth since the pasta absorbs some.)
“When will you make this again?”
“I like this soup better than the can, except these green leaves are bigger. Can you make them smaller next time.” Sigh.Print
Homemade Italian Wedding Soup with Kale
A truly soul-satisfying soup: Meatballs, noodles, a bit of green, and Parmesan cheese broth.
- Yield: 8-10 servings
- 11-12 cups chicken stock
- Parmesan rinds and/or leftover hard cheese pieces
- 1 pound ground meat (chicken, turkey, pork, beef, veal, or a combination)
- 1/2 cup dry bread crumbs or panko
- 2 large eggs
- 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese (or Romano), divided
- 1/4 cup grated Cheddar cheese (or Parmesan)
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
- 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 1 medium yellow onion, diced
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 bunch kale trimmed and torn into bite-sized pieces (about 6 lightly packed cups)
- 1 cup dry macaroni pasta
- In a large pot, combine stock and cheese rinds and aged cheese pieces (not feta or Cheddar)
- Combine the ground meat, bread crumbs, 1 egg, 1/4 cup of each cheese, oregano, salt and pepper in a bowl. Mix thoroughly, then form the mixture into 3/4-inch balls. You should have 30 to 40 meatballs, depending on how large you form them.
- In a large skillet, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium high heat. Add the meatballs in batches and cook, turning, until browned all over, 3 to 5 minutes. (If they are still a bit pink in the middle, don’t worry; they will continue to cook in the broth.) Set them aside on paper towels to absorb excess oil.
- In a 4- to 6-quart soup pot, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon oil over medium high heat. Add the onion and garlic and sauté until the onions are tender and the garlic is soft, but not browned, about 5 minutes. Add the warm cheese stock and bring to a boil. Add the greens and macaroni, reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer for 10 minutes. Add the meatballs and cook another 5 minutes.
- Meanwhile, combine the remaining egg and remaining feta cheese in small bowl and stir with a fork to blend. Slowly pour the egg mixture into the hot soup, stirring constantly. Cover and simmer just until egg bits are set, about 30 seconds.
Have you ever recreated a packaged food that your family liked better – or worse? Please share!
If you like this recipe, here are a few others you may fancy: