Monday, August 18, 2014

Italian Wedding Soup



1 onion, chopped
1 fennel bulb, stalks discarded, bulb halved, cored, and chopped
4 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
1/2 ounces dried porcini mushrooms, rinsed
8 ounces ground pork
1 bay leaf
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
4 cups chicken broth
2 cups beef broth
2 cups water


1 slice hearty sandwich bread, crusts removed, torn into 1-inch pieces
5 tablespoons heavy cream
1/4 grated Parmesan cheese
4 teaspoons finely grated onion
1/2 teaspoon finely grated garlic
salt and pepper
12 ounces ground pork
1 teaspoon baking powder
3 teaspoons oregano

1 cup ditalini pasta
12 ounces kale, stemmed and cut into 1/2-inch pieces (6 cups)


1. For the Broth: 

Heat onion, fennel garlic, porcini, pork, and bay leaf in Dutch oven over medium-high heat; cook, stirring frequently, until meats are no longer pink, about 5 minutes.

Add wine and Worcestershire; cook for 1 minute.

Add chicken and beef broths and water; bring to simmer. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for 30 minutes.

2. For the Meatballs

While broth simmers, combine bread, cream, Parmesan, onion, garlic, and pepper to taste in bowl; using fork, mash mixture to uniform paste.

Using stand mixer fitted with paddle, beat pork, baking powder, and 1/2 teaspoon salt on high speed until smooth and pale, 1-2 minutes, scraping down bowl as needed.

Add bread mixture and oregano; mix on medium speed until just incorporated, 1-2 minutes, scraping down bowl as needed. Using moistened hands, form heaping teaspoons of meat mixture into small round meatballs; approx. 20-30 depending on how big you want them. Cover and refrigerate up to 1 day.

If you want a "cleaner" broth, strain it through fine-mesh strainer set over large bowl and discarding solids. I personally like a "dirtier" soup so I left them in and continued on my merry way.

Return broth to simmer over medium-high heat. Add pasta and kale; cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes.

Add meatballs; return to simmer and cook, stirring occasionally until meatballs are cooked through and pasta is tender, 3-5 minutes.

Season with salt and pepper to taste and serve.

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